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Banksy mural saved from ‘death sentence’ by art collector

Written by on 18 February 2021

A Banksy mural was saved from a “death sentence” when it was removed from a wall by an art collector.

John Brandler, who owns Brandler Galleries in Essex, spent a six-figure sum to purchase the artwork, which was discovered in a student part of Nottingham last October.

The piece – which showed a girl hula-hooping with a bicycle tyre – was removed on Wednesday morning.

The Banksy was removed on Wednesday morning. Pic: PA/@Dangolstein Image: The Banksy was removed on Wednesday morning. Pic: PA/@Dangolstein

Mould had started to form within the mural’s plastic casing, and Mr Brandler has plans to restore it before moving the artwork to a museum.

He said: “If I hadn’t bought it and removed it, in two years’ time there wouldn’t have been a Banksy there at all.

“I appreciate the council were trying to protect it from vandals coming along but actually it was creating a death sentence for it.

“I am pleased I’ve been able to save it from destruction.”

The mural will be sent to Scotland to be restored – at a cost of thousands of pounds, according to Mr Brandler – before it gets put on display in Bury St Edmunds.

The art collector did hint the piece might be able to return to Nottingham in the future, however.

“This isn’t a one-way street, work with me and it would be lovely to bring the whole show back,” he added.

Asked if he had heard from residents, Mr Brandler said: “Somebody told me it belongs to the people of Nottingham – no, it belonged to the person whose wall it was on.

“From what I hear they offered it to a number of organisations in Nottingham and nobody was interested.

“It’s very easy to say ‘we must keep it’ – all right, you pay for it, you pay for the maintenance, the security, the insurance, the restoration.”

The mural has been unloaded at the gallery where it will be on display for several years. Pic: @poblgroup Image: Mr Brandler has purchased other pieces by Banksy, including one in Port Talbot. Pic: @poblgroup

Among Mr Brandler’s collection are other works by Banksy, including Season’s Greeting from Port Talbot, Wales.

Dan Golstein, a student at the University of Nottingham who lives near where the mural used to be, was woken up at 6am by people removing the Banksy.

He said: “In terms of how I feel as a local, I think it’s a real shame that they decided to sell.

“I understand why, but ultimately it was a treasure to the community and it’s sad that now what is left is wooden board and debris.

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