A Banksy expert says “there’s a very good chance” the mysterious artist is behind the mural that appeared outside Reading Prison.

Professor Paul Gough, vice chancellor at Arts University Bournemouth, has spent years studying the street artist’s work and he is the author of ‘Banksy: The Bristol Legacy’.

He said the high quality of this painting, which was spotted earlier today, suggests it may be a genuine Banksy.

Professor Gough said: “It’s quite easy to copy Banksy. It’s even easier to copy Banksy badly, because stencilling isn’t that difficult.

READ MORE: Live updates after possible Banksy artwork appears outside Reading Prison

“But what is so convincing about a good Banksy is the quality of the painting is usually pretty good.

“You can see from the photographs I’m looking at now that the paintwork itself is pretty accomplished.

“There’s a use of a mid-tone for the stripes on the figure which is new, I’ve not seen that in Banksy’s work before.

“The face has been painted with a slightly different colour, not dissimilar to the colour that was used on the portrait of the old lady in Bristol.

“The quality of the painting on the face and hands is unique and I’m looking at the way the white paint has been applied to the typewriter.

“It looks pretty good to me. It’s almost too good.”

Professor Gough said “there’s a very good chance” this is the work of Bansky and he is keeping a close eye on the street artist’s Instagram, to see if he confirms it in the coming days.

He also said the location of the artwork must be taken into account, because Banksy “doesn’t put things anywhere”.

Professor Paul Gough, vice chancellor of Arts University Bournemouth

Professor Paul Gough, vice chancellor of Arts University Bournemouth

“It’s not just any old brick wall,” said Professor Gough.

“There’s a lot of conversations around the future of the jail, with artists, writers, performers and dramatists advocating its use as an arts venue.”

According to Professor Gough, if this is a genuine Banksy, the value of the Victorian prison could increase significantly. However, several walls with Banksy murals on them have been removed and sold to art galleries or private collectors.

The Ministry of Justice owns the prison, which has not housed any inmates since 2013, but Reading Borough Council wants to buy it.

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The council is drawing up a business case for the Grade II listed building, as it wants to transform the old prison, that once held Oscar Wilde, into an arts centre.

Several people claim they saw men on scaffolding next to the prison wall over the weekend, before the mural appeared.

But it is still not clear whether this is the work of Banksy or a skilful copycat.

Professor Gough said he does not know if he’s ever met the mysterious street artist in person, as his identity remains a secret.

But the art professor was in contact with Banksy when he was writing ‘Banksy: The Bristol Legacy’.