Bomb Middle England Banksy
Find out more about Banksy’s Bomb Middle England series, browse prints & editions for sale & view the works wanted by active buyers right now.
Bomb Middle England is one of Banksy’s early screenprints. It was released by Pictures on Walls, the artist’s original UK print house, in 2003 as an edition of 450 unsigned prints. There are also a rare 50 signed prints on woven paper. The work depicts an idyllic – yet explosive – game of boules.
Bomb Middle England shows three elderly ladies in their coats and hats seemingly playing boules on a strip of grass created from two horizontal planes of green, the only elements of colour in an otherwise muted palette. The three characters and their balls are painted in black and white in Banksy’s famous stencil style. But here Banksy has replaced the boule balls with metal cannonballs, all with lit fuses. The women stand on the far left side whilst their balls roll towards the right side, ready to blow.
The title refers to one of Banksy’s most popular targets – the indifferent bourgeoisie. However, as always, the artist’s works can be interpreted in a variety of ways; the work could seem to convey a belief that the English elite are immune to violence and the brutality of war as they throw bombs without a care. Whereas another reading considers the work as a parody of war as a game to be played by those in elite social circles who have the power to expend the lives of others and never suffer the consequences. Other interpretations view the three elderly ladies, wearing hats reminiscent of military helmets, as soldiers, attacking Middle England with the specific values and attitudes put upon them by society.
Why is Bomb Middle England important?
Bomb Middle England first appeared in early 2000 as a mural spray-painted in the Montpelier area of Bristol, Banksy’s hometown. Later, in 2003, an incomplete version was found on Shoreditch High Street in East London. In 2007, in spray-paint and acrylic on wooden board, was auctioned in 2007 at Sotheby’s. At the time, it held the record set for an artwork by Banksy.
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