Bookish Banksy’s ‘new’ sculptures up for auction in Edinburgh

The five unique sculptures, which literally spring from the pages of books, were specially created for the Scottish Book Trust. The sculptures were originally commissioned in 2012 by the charity to mark Scotland’s first-ever Book Week – and are up for auction from this Tuesday until Tuesday February 1.

Book lovers and art enthusiasts will be invited to place their bids with art auctioneers Lyon and Turnbull, who sell the paper creations on behalf of the Scottish Book Trust.

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The unique sculptures – including this intricate depiction of Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island – are set to go up for auction

The mystery creator of the sculptures – known to be a woman – first came to public attention when she secretly dropped her book sculptures around cultural venues in Edinburgh throughout 2011.

During Scotland Book Week in 2012, the commissioned sculptures – each depicting a Scottish literary classic – were discovered in a different location in the country by members of the public.

Classics made into sculptures – and now on sale – are Robert Burns’ Tam O’Shanter, Compton Mackenzie’s Whiskey Galore, JM Barrie’s Peter Pan, Alasdair Gray’s Lanark and Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island.

The elusive artist has authorized the sale of his intricate sculptures to help the Scottish Book Trust, which promotes the enjoyment of reading and the importance of literacy, fund its ambition to make books accessible to all.

The designs have a starting bid of £800 and an indicative price of between £1,000 and £1,500. They will be available by appointment in Lyon and at Turnbull’s Edinburgh auction room in Broughton Place in the days leading up to the online auction.

The unknown book sculpture artist said: “I’ve always thought that sculptures were a bad attempt to communicate the transformative magic that happens when a book is read. I couldn’t be happier than in selling them at auction, they could be turned into real books.”

Marc Lambert, chief executive of the Scottish Book Trust, said: “Many children are growing up without access to books or owning their own books at home, and since the pandemic the situation has worsened. Without books, children miss out and we know the impact of that lasts a lifetime.

“The works featured in these incredible creations all speak of magic, adventure, daring and Scotland’s vital place in the history of world literature. The auction is part of a fundraising campaign major and long-term project launched at the end of last year.

“Over Christmas, this focused on distributing books to families in need through food banks, local authorities and other charities.”

It is hoped that the sculptures will generate a lot of interest and inspire bidders and potential collectors to dig deep into their pockets.

Cathy Marsden, auction organizer and specialist in rare books at Lyon and Turnbull, said: “Books are essential for developing the imagination, self-awareness and providing a sense of escape, all of which promote good mental health and The well-being.

“We hope that each sculpture offered for sale can help the Scottish Book Trust provide the gifts of reading and literature that can change lives.”

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