The old town was formerly a fishing harbour which in 1301 was recorded to have 150 homesteads with 800 inhabitants. A mediaeval wooden lighthouse, known locally as a foïer, was built on a dune and lit by charcoal and faggots but this burned down several times. On one occasion at least it was as a result of the continuous conflict between the English and the French in the Hundred Years War. The chronicler Enguerrand de Monstrelet mentions that during 1414 the English garrison in Calais raided south and burned the town.[7] Eventually the lighthouse was replaced by a stone tower at the side of which a chapel was built in the 15th century, but this did not save it from further mishap. During the second siege of Montreuil in 1544, the English advanced from the south and burned 200 houses, the church and the mill as they passed through Berck. What was left of the place was then burned by the French on their way to relieve the siege.[8]
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The chapel was later extended to join the tower, making what is now the church of St-Jean-Baptiste, but the tower was only converted to a belfry after the sea retired, leaving it 1.5 kilometres inland. It is for this reason that the present division between the original village and the sea-front area exists.[9] As a result, boats were then designed with flat bottoms so that they could be drawn up on the beach and a cart was driven out to them in order to bring in the catch (see Eugène Boudin's painting below).

Local residents of Weston-super-Mare were told that a Hollywood company called Atlas Entertainment was using the location to film a crime thriller called Grey Fox. Signs proclaiming "Grey Fox Productions" were posted around entrances to the site.[5][6][7] Pictures of its construction began surfacing online in early August 2015, and included a "fairy castle and massive sculptures".[8] Holly Cushing, whose name appeared in the credits of a documentary about Banksy and who is often reported to be his manager, was sighted at the construction site before the opening, which contributed to the decline of its status as "secret".[8][9]


In January 2011, he was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Documentary for the film Exit via the Gift Shop.[156] In 2014, he was awarded Person of the Year at the 2014 Webby Awards.[9] As of 2014, Banksy was regarded as a British cultural icon, with young adults from abroad naming the artist among a group of people that they most associated with UK culture, which included William Shakespeare, Queen Elizabeth II, David Beckham, The Beatles, Charlie Chaplin, J. K. Rowling, Elton John, and Adele.[157][158] 

There exists a cult-like following for the artist. The ambiguity of his identity has drawn this group of followers. A concept, the "Banksy effect" has developed as a result of Banksy's artistic innovation. This term is in reference to the artist's ability to turn outsider art into the cultural mainstream.[154] It was coined to reference the way in which Banksy's work has led to an increased interest in street art. Street art has been incorporated into being a part of culture and daily life. His work in turn, has questioned the authenticity of art and its creators, furthering the cultural debate that has existed for centuries.[155]
This was purchased as a present for my freshman college son, who had seen it in the bookstore during visits. I should say that he does already have familiarity with Banksy's work. He loves it. It's well made, very sturdy, nice binding (hardcover bought). Had terrific pictures and graphics. Lot's of captioning, some longer writing about pieces, periods, etc. Very dense, perfect for browsing thru bits at a time. And it's a real conversation piece in the dorm, helping to strike up conversations with other people who are interested in Banksy, art, street culture, you name it. Plus, my son isn't normally too interested in visual art, but here he is appreciating the medium in a very subversive way - that sneaky Banksy!
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