Banksy artwork depicting MPs as chimpanzees sold for record amount

A Banksy artwork depicting MPs in the British House of Commons as chimpanzees has been sold for £9.9 million, in what organisers say is a record for the street artist. Devolved Parliament, which is four metres wide, was first unveiled as part of the Bristol artist’s exhibition Banksy vs Bristol Museum in 2009.

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It went under the hammer at Sotheby’s in London today and after 13 minutes of bidding, sold for £9,879,500. It had a guide price of between £1.5-2 million.

That comfortably beats the previous auction record for a Banksy, which is thought to be the $1.8m (£1.4 million) paid for Keep It Spotless, which was sold at Sotheby’s in New York.

Shortly after Devolved Parliament was sold, Banksy reacted on Instagram.

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“Record price for a Banksy painting set at auction tonight,” he wrote. “Shame I didn’t still own it.” After Devolved Parliament went on display in March, Banksy wrote on Instagram: “Devolved Parliament. I made this 10 years ago.

“Bristol museum have just put it back on display to mark Brexit day.” His post ended with the quote: “Laugh now, but one day no-one will be in charge.” Chimpanzees first appeared in his work in 2002, with his piece Laugh Now.

The painting shows a row of apes wearing aprons carrying the inscription “Laugh now, but one day we’ll be in charge”.

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In 2009, Banksy said of Devolved Parliament: “You paint 100 chimpanzees and they still call you a guerrilla artist.”

Today’s auction took place almost a year after Banksy’s Girl With The Balloon partially shredded itself as the gavel came down at Sotheby’s, becoming the freshly titled Love Is In The Bin.