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Was The Artist Of The Adultery Plaque A Really Angry Spouse, Or Banksy?


The amateur sleuths, conspiracy theorists and mischief makers on the sweeping Royal York Crescent in Clifton, Bristol, all have opinions about a mysterious plaque appearing to out an adulterous husband.

The brass plate engraved with “For My Love/Husband, Father, Adulterer/Yes, Roger, I Knew” quickly attracted attention after it was attached to a wooden bench on the grand crescent’s terrace at the end of last week.

Most residents doubt its authenticity. Rachel Weaver-Tooley, whose balcony flat overlooks the bench, points to the date of Roger’s birth on the plaque: 06.09.69. “Revenge is a dish best served cold … and in a brass plate,” she says in the spring sunshine. “But look at the numbers in dates 69 69. Come on!”

Yet some on the picturesque Georgian crescent, which has served as a location in films including Starter for 10, are determined to uncover the secret plaque maker. “We asked in the cobbler’s earlier because we’re trying to get to the bottom of it,” says Kim Collins, 52, another resident. “They are the only place in Clifton village that engrave stuff, but they said it wasn’t anything to do with them.”

The main suspects appear to live on the crescent. “There are loads of quite eccentric people here. There are lots of novelists and artists, with time on their hands,” says Jason Smith, 53, who lives with Collins.

“I think it is someone living along here who wants to get people talking and laughing.”

It’s not the first time a mysterious plaque has appeared in the area. At the end of the crescent someone has fixed a similar plaque to a bin. It reads: “This bin is dedicated to Craig of Royal York Crescent who spends many a restful moment hither.”

Rumour has it that Craig, a familiar sight on the terrace, who purportedly likes to lean on the bin of an evening, suspects Smith.

Yet Smith denies involvement with either plaque and appears to have an alibi. “I wasn’t here on Thursday [when the plaque was spotted]. You can’t prove anything.”

The five-storey house opposite owns the section of the terrace with the bench. Sue Wells, 77, a writer who lives in one of its flats, has no objection to the plaque: “It’s hilarious. I think it is clever.”

Crowds have been coming to look at the bench, she says. “It is amazing how word spreads. I’ve been trying to have a kip … and there have been loads and loads of people outside.”

Her husband, Martin Wells, 73, a writer and psychotherapist, is one of the few prepared to indulge the idea it might be genuine: “If it’s real, [his spouse] has put up with this for years and only when he has died did they feel able to tell the truth … a very passive person.” The plaque appears to be fixed with tacks, jogging his memory: “Two or three nights ago there was some banging and I thought that’s late for builders to be banging.”

The Banksy mural, Well Hung Lover, in the centre of Bristol. Photograph: iWebbtravel/Alamy

Inevitably, the elusive Bristol graffiti artist, Banksy, is mentioned. His mural of an adulterous, naked man hanging from a window ledge, Well Hung Lover, in Bristol’s centre provides a tenuous link. “I think it is Banksy,” says Weaver-Tooley, with a mischievous smile.

Collins, however, makes the case for a homegrown artist: “If we are going to have a form of street art in Clifton village it would be engraved brass plaques.”



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