This piece, like most Banksy works has a bit of a story and mystery surrounding it. Banksy painted "Sweep It Under The Rug" in 2007 on the side of the WhiteCube Gallery on Hoxton Square but it didn't last long, two months to be exact. The gallery kept it up for a while but ultimately senior management decided to remove the piece.
Dave Ma, the manager of Shish restaurant which sits across from the White Cube Gallery say an employee of the gallery painting over the work, he said:
"The gallery's policy is to paint over any graffiti the following day. When the Banksy work appeared, staff at the Cube asked their boss if they could bend the rules and leave it. He said they could leave it for a month but ordered them to cover over it once the month was up. It's a real shame. People in the area thought it was a great piece of art. They certainly didn't expect it to be destroyed."
The White Cube refute this though and a spokesman was quoted saying:
"Contractors were hired to paint the wall but were told not to paint over the Banksy.
"It wasn't removed by us or our contractors. It was painted over by a third party but we don't know who."
A friend of Banksy added "The fact that it was painted over is an embarrassment. It's a ridiculous thing for the gallery to do."
The artwork was estimated to be worth over £200,000.
Needless to say but the artwork is no longer there.
The same stencil piece has made a few appearances elsewhere. The Independent, a British Newspaper has said that they "commissioned" one of them to appear at the junction of Regents Park Road and Chalk Farm Road, London. However although a Banksy work did appear in that area it was refuted on his website that it was a commissioned piece:
"Banksy does not do graffiti commissions for national newspapers and is unlikely to start at any point in the near future".
Banksy has said the meaning behind the piece is "In the bad old days, it was only popes and princes who had the money to pay for their portraits to be painted, this is a portrait of a maid called Leanne who cleaned my room in a Los Angeles motel. She was quite a feisty lady."