The Drinker by Banksy returned to Shaftesbury Avenue

The Drinker is a statue by Banksy which was originally placed on Shaftsbury Square in London. It was stolen from the location in 2004 and then returned over 10 years later in 2015. The artist AK47 was responsible for it’s initial removal and it’s returned version contained a number of modifications.

A play on Rodin’s famous ‘The Thinker’. Banksy’s version which he named the drinker showed a man in a thinking like pose but with a cone on the top of his head. It was placed on a concrete plinth in a little square just next to Shaftesbury Avenue Theatre.

The Drinker statue by Banksy has been defaced by the artist AK47
The Drinker by Banksy has returned to Shaftsbury Avenue

Feud with Banksy

Since it’s removal in 2004 the drinker has been in the not so safe keeping of AK47. An artist who it would seem had a little bit of feud with Banksy back in the day. This was apparently caused when Banksy failed to sign an unsigned print the AK47, also known as Andy Link, had bought.

This slight resulted in AK47 hijacking the Drinker and demanding a ransom that wasn’t paid.  An illegal installation anyway, no-one laid claim to the statue once it was taken and so AK47 found himself the owner of more than just a print.

The Drinker statue by Banksy has been renamed to 'The Stinker'
The drinker statue by Banksy was stolen by AK47 in 2004 and now back in the same place

The Drinker by Banksy

In 2015 it was returned to the same spot albeit with a few slight alterations.  Namely the additional of a toilet seat and a flush.  The Drinker has also been renamed the stinker. One the concrete base where the Banksy logo and the title of the piece had been. AK47 added a ‘take the piss’ stencil and crossing out the ‘DR’ of drinker and wrote in the ‘ST’ of stinker.

The cool thing though is that despite the revamped version the drinker was of course still a genuine Banksy. It’s just one that had been away for a little while.  Sadly the revamped Drinker statue is no longer there, removed some weeks after the statue had been returned.

The Drinker could be found on Shaftesbury Avenue in a little square next to the theatre.  It was visited on Sunday 13 December 2015.  For more Banksy related posts have a look at ‘10 Artists who have been compared to Banksy

The head of the drinker statue complete with cone
Banksy’s The Drinker was based on Rodin’s Thinker
The back of the Drinker statue by Banksy
The Banksy logo can still be seen
The renamed plinth showing the name change from the drinker to the stinker
AK47 has renamed the plinth into ‘The Stinker’
But now it’s got a toilet seat and it’s called ‘The Stinker’ Geddit!!! A Toilet Seat!!!!
The statue is next to Shaftesbury Avenue Theatre until such time as someone takes it away
The empty plinth where the Drinker statue once stood in Shaftesbury Avenue
Heading back to the same spot in February and the Stinker has gone although the plinth has been left

9 Comments

  1. A really good story this…… Very well flushed out!!! The last snap made me smile as to the left is a TO LET sign just begging someone to add the I (TOILET)

    1. Thanks Jenn and well done for convincing the others to have a look, I bet they didn’t regret it 🙂 Not suprised the cistern’s gone I wonder how long the rest of it will last

  2. In your photos there is an axe hanging from the cistern which was not put there by AK47 as far as I can tell from the online photos/videos of the installation I have seen. Now that too has gone, along with the cistern itself.
    The evolution of art works!
    There is an irony here too which maybe even AK 47 doesn’t know about. That square and the little road off it, Grape Street, are used as a public toilet after the pubs close. Residents have been asking Camden Council to install public toilets in the area, to no avail. Now there is one but it’s permanently engaged!

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