Coronavirus UK: New work by Banksy at Southampton Hospital

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After a year-long investigation by Claudia Joseph, Simon Trump, Ewan Fletcher, Adam Luck, Jason Buckner and Craig Hibbert, the Mail on Sunday named Banksy as Robin Gunningham.

the the search began with a photograph taken in Jamaica showing a man in a blue shirt and jeans, with a hint of a smile on his face and an aerosol can at his feet. Taken in 2004, he reportedly showed Banksy at work. When the photo was published, it appeared to be the first flaw in the anonymity armor with which the artist has protected himself since his work began to attract the attention of the art world.

Armed with this photograph, the team traveled to Bristol, long regarded as Banksy’s hometown, where they contacted a man who claimed to have met the artist once in the flesh.

Many people have claimed as much, but by the time we started asking for more information, it was discovered that they “knew someone who met Banksy” – and the track got cold.

However, this man not only claimed to have met the elusive artist, but was able to provide us with a name – not the usual variations of the name Banks, but one more intriguing.

The man in the photo, he insisted, was formerly known as Robin Gunningham – and it didn’t take much imagination to figure out how such a name could give Banksy the nickname.

From the documents made available to the public, they were able to glean more information.

Robin’s father, Peter Gordon Gunningham, was from the Whitehall area of ​​Bristol. Her mother, Pamela Ann Dawkin-Jones was a secretary to an entrepreneur and grew up in the exclusive surroundings of Clifton.

The couple married on April 25, 1970 at Kingswood Wesley Methodist Church. On February 8, 1972, their daughter Sarah was born at Bristol Maternity Hospital, when Peter was promoted to regional manager of a hotel business and the couple bought their first house, a semi-detached house in Bristol.

On July 28, 1973, Robin was born in the same hospital. According to neighbors, the boy underwent early surgery for a palette of lunges.

Images offer behind-the-scenes glimpse of the guerilla artist creating some of his famous works, captured by his longtime associate - though they don't seem to capture his face

Images provide behind-the-scenes glimpse of the guerilla artist creating some of his famous works, captured by his longtime associate – though they don’t seem to capture his face

When Robin was nine years old, the family moved to a larger house on the same street and it was there that he spent his formative years and became interested in graffiti.

A neighbor, Anthony Hallett, remembers that the couple entered the street as newlyweds and lived there until 1998. They have since separated.

When they showed Mr. Hallett the photo of Jamaica, he said that the man in it was Robin Gunningham.

In 1984 Robin, then 11, wore a black blazer, gray pants and a striped tie to attend the famous Bristol Cathedral School, which currently charges £ 9,240 a year and registers the model. Sophie Anderton as a former student.

It was difficult to imagine Banksy, the anti-authoritarian renegade, as a public schoolboy wandering in the old 17th century monastery, with his upper and lower quadrangles and prayers in the old cathedral.

But then they found a school photograph, taken in 1989, of a Robin Gunningham in glasses in which he shows a noticeable resemblance to the man in the Jamaica photo.

In the photo, the former family home of Robin Gunningham in Bristol. Gunningham is believed to be Banksy

The photo shows Robin Gunningham’s former family home in Bristol. Gunningham is believed to be Banksy

The other students remember Robin, who was at Deans House, as a particularly gifted artist.

In the few interviews Banksy has given (always anonymously), the artist admitted that it was at school that he first became interested in graffiti.

Robin Gunningham left school at age 16 after doing GCSEs and started getting into street art.

As the investigation continued, their investigations repeatedly demonstrated that the details of the story of Robin Gunningham’s life were perfectly consistent with the known facts about Banksy.

In 1998, Robin Gunningham lived in Easton, Bristol, with Luke Egan, who then exhibited with Banksy at the Santa’s Ghetto, an art store that launched at Christmas 2001 in London’s West End.

Egan and Gunningham reportedly left the house when the owner wanted to sell it.

Camilla Stacey, curator at Here Gallery in Bristol who bought the property in 2000, said Banksy and Robin Gunningham are one and the same. She knew the house had been inhabited by Banksy because of the artwork that remained there – and she used to send him a message on behalf of Robin Gunningham.

Once the group was almost certain that Banksy was Gunningham – they went looking for him and tried to see if his parents would help him.

Her mother Pamela lived in a modern, neat bungalow in a village outside of Bristol. After identifying themselves, they asked her if she had a son named Robin.

His reaction was very strange. They showed her the photo of Jamaica and she was visibly surprised, but said that she did not recognize the man in the photo, who she looked more like than a passing likeness. They asked if she could put us in touch with him.

“I’m afraid I don’t know how to get in touch with him,” she said.

So she had a son named Robin? “No I do not know. I have no son at all.

They asked her if she had other children. “Yes, a girl.

But no son and certainly not a son who went to Bristol Cathedral School?

“No,” she said, and then denied being Pamela Gunningham, insisting that the voter lists must be incorrect.

Their conversation with Peter Gunningham, who now lived in a closed development on the outskirts of Kingsdown, was also disconcerting.

Again, they presented the photograph of Banksy / Robin Gunningham. Gunningham said he did not recognize the person in the photo. They told him they thought his son was Banksy. “No,” he replied. “I can’t really help you.

Mr. Gunningham politely continued to deny that his son was Banksy but his manner was almost playful. He refused to give them information about Robin. Everything was very strange.

If the couple had never heard of Banksy or Robin Gunningham, we would have expected a reaction of utter confusion. This does not seem to be the case.

They then contacted Banksy’s public relations officer who, in Banksy’s best tradition, neither confirmed nor denied the story.

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