The anonymous street artist behind a new motif painted on the side of Reading Gaol has revealed his motives – and it’s not Banksy.

More graffiti appeared just before Christmas, prompting speculation that Banksy had paid another visit after offering £10m to turn the Gaol into an arts hub.

A little-known creative who goes by the name of Portus Abonae has claimed responsibility for the drawing.

“I started drawing it just after Banksy painted the Great Escape,” said Portus Abonae, which translates to Sea Mills, a Roman settlement in Bristol.

Reading Chronicle: The section of the prison along the Oscar Wilde memorial walk, where the figure was drawnThe section of the prison along the Oscar Wilde memorial walk, where the figure was drawn

“I thought about how we had all been so trapped in our homes and our only contact with each other and the arts was social media and television.

“We were desperate to just look at the sky.”

Read more: Banksy's letters to Ministry IGNORED after artist offers to pay £10m for prison

An excerpt from the poem ‘The Ballad of Reading Gaol’ by Oscar Wilde accompanies the figure on the prison wall, reading: “I never saw a man who looked // with such a wistful eye // upon that little tent of blue // which prisoners call the sky”

Abonae indicated his artwork supported Banksy’s bid to turn the prison into an arts hub.

The international street artist has offered £10m to support a proposal made by Reading Borough Council to turn the prison, which has been disused since 2013, into an arts and cultural hub.

Read more: Chronicle calls out MoJ for silence on £10million Banksy offer

“It can enrich lives through access to the arts and culture of the nation,” said Abonae.

“So that, as depicted in the artwork on the wall, an ordinary person in working clothes can have a renaissance, enjoy the gift of life-long learning and be creative.”

He continued: “Lifelong learning and access to the arts is a basic human right.

“Too much of our sovereign state-owned and public funded property is not being remodeled and reused for the common good.”

The artist said: “We need the arts to allow creative people [to] entertain.”

“The music, art, film and television industry is our greatest British asset, yet it's being cut from school and society by people who have no love for our country.”