An artwork by mysterious artist and National Treasure Banksy has entered the British Museum’s collection. The piece, originally designed in 2004, is a a fake £10 banknote showing Diana, Prince of Wales, rather than HMS Queen Elizabeth. It also features “Banksy of England”. The artwork joins the venerable museum’s numismatic collection.
Tom Hockenhull, curator of modern money at the museum, said to the Guardian :“There is a long history of political and social discourse through this type of protest which made us keen to acquire it,” Hockenhull said. “Also, it’s a Banksy – why wouldn’t we want it? It’s an opportunity for us to have a work by an artist of that stature as part of a collection that people might not consider the typical respository for a work by Banksy.”
Banksy secretly exhibited in the British Museum before, so this acquisition is only a return for the secretive artist. In 2005, he installed a mock cave-painting of a Stone-Age hunter pushing a supermarket trolley in the Roman Britain gallery, where it went unnoticed for three days before the museum’s directors found out. Peckham Rock was borrowed back from the artist for the museum’s recent exhibition I Object: Ian Hislop’s Search for Dissent, co-organised by Hockenhull, which closed last month.