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

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

John Brandler, owner of Brandler Galleries in Brentwood, Essex, spent “a six-figure sum” to purchase 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, started to form mold in its protective plastic casing, and he plans to restore it and to move it to a museum in Suffolk.

“If I hadn’t bought it and pulled it out, in two years there wouldn’t be any Banksy at all,” he told the PA news agency.

“I understand that the council was trying to protect him from vandals, but in fact it was creating a death sentence.

“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 be on display in a museum in Bury St Edmunds, but Mr Brandler has said the entire exhibition 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.

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

“From what I heard they offered it to a number of organizations in Nottingham and no one was interested.

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

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

Dan Golstein, a University of Nottingham student, said he was awakened around 6 a.m. on Wednesday to the sound of Banksy’s room and the wall it rests on.

“As far as how I feel as a local, I think it’s a real 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 now only planks and debris are left.

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

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

Norma D. Ross