Banksy mural ‘saved from death penalty’, says art collector who removed it

Banksy artwork

An art collector who bought and removed a Banksy mural in Nottingham says he saved it from a ‘death sentence’ despite protests from locals.

John Brandler, owner of Brandler Galleries in Brentwood, Essex, spent “a six-figure sum” to buy the mural, which appeared on the corner of Rothesay Avenue in Lenton in October before being removed early Wednesday morning.

The 65-year-old said the artwork, which shows a girl hula hooping with a bicycle tire, had started to form mold in its protective plastic casing, and he plans to replace it. restore it and move it to a museum in Suffolk.

“If I hadn’t bought it and taken it away, in two years there would have been no Banksy there,” he told the PA news agency.

“I appreciate that the council was trying to protect him from vandals, but in effect they were creating a death sentence for him.

“I’m glad I was able to save it from destruction.”

Mr Brandler said he was paying thousands of pounds to send the artwork to Scotland where it will be restored.

The artwork will then go on display in a museum in Bury St Edmunds, but Mr Brandler said the entire display could return to Nottingham in the future.

“It’s not a one-way street, work with me and it would be nice to bring the whole show back,” he added.

Banksy in Nottingham
The Banksy appeared in Nottingham in October (Jacob King/PA)

Asked if he had a message for residents upset over the removal of the artwork, Mr Brandler said: ‘Someone told me it belongs to the people of Nottingham – no, it belonged to the person whose wall it was on.

“From what I heard they pitched it to a number of organizations in Nottingham and nobody was interested.

“It’s very easy to say ‘keep it’ – okay, you pay for it, you pay for maintenance, security, insurance, catering.”

The Banksy is one of many purchases by Mr Brandler, including Season’s Greetings in Port Talbot, Wales.

Port Talbot street art
Art dealer John Brandler, as a mural in Banksy’s Season’s Greetings in Wales (Adam Hale/PA)

Dan Golstein, a student at the University of Nottingham, said he was woken around 6am on Wednesday to the sound of Banksy’s play and the wall it is resting on.

“As far as how I feel as a local, I think it’s such a shame that they decided to sell,” the 21-year-old told PA.

“I understand why, but in the end it was a treasure for the community and it’s sad that all that remains is planks of wood and debris.

“It was installed at a very difficult time for residents of Lenton due to high Covid rates, and it brought a lot of life.”

PA has contacted representatives of Banksy to comment on the removal of the mural.

Norma D. Ross