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Rothesay Avenue’s Banksy Has Been Sold On

Gemma Cockrell

Banksy first confirmed that the street art on Rothesay Avenue in Lenton, which depicts a girl hula-hooping with a bicycle tyre, was his own via Instagram on October 17th 2020. However, fast forward exactly four months later, it has been announced that the painting has been sold for a six-figure sum.

Resident Dan Golstein said workmen were “drilling into the wall” in the early hours. The artwork was then seen being loaded into the back of a van.

The buyer is John Brandler, the owner of Brandler Galleries in Brentwood, Essex, who claims that the “great and good” of the city did not take the opportunity to keep it here. Therefore, the piece will not stay in Nottingham. Instead, it will be sent to Moyse’s Hall Museum in Bury St Edmunds, where it will remain for a number of years, after being featured in a special exhibition between May and September.

Brandler Galleries own a number of Banksys, including the famous Port Talbot mural. This mural, including many of the others that he has bought, has stayed in place rather than being relocated. However, Brandler claims that it was up to the Nottingham art community and council to ensure that it stayed in the city. Therefore, the reason that the piece will not be staying in Lenton is because “nobody asked” him.

The Banksy served as a unique respite to those struggling during lockdown

The owner of the building on which the mural was painted seems somewhat relieved about the sale. They describe it as “a weight off their shoulders”, as the discovery of the Banksy thrust them into the limelight and triggered large groups of admirers to crowd on the street to try and get a glimpse of the artwork. After struggling to find anyone local to take ownership of the artwork, after contacting local organisations, charities and national bodies, they had to explore other options, and chose to sell it to Brandler.

They confirm that since they were unable to donate the artwork as they originally wished to, they will instead be donating the proceeds privately instead. They released a statement in which they said “We hope it brought some joy to people in an otherwise difficult time.” The Banksy served as a unique respite to those struggling during lockdown.

However, the Nottingham City Council were unaware of these plans to remove and sell the Banksy artwork. They describe it as regrettable that it has not been kept in Nottingham for the local people to continue to enjoy. Now, if they want to view it, they will have to travel 120 miles.

The Nottingham Project believe that these events would go against Banksy’s wishes. When they contacted Banksy’s team, ‘Pest Control’, seeking approval for the mural to be moved to a different location in Nottingham, they responded asking for the artwork to remain where it was.

the fact that Banksy visited a street in Lenton is something that will never be forgotten

Despite many residents feeling disappointed that the artwork will no longer be able to be viewed in Nottingham, Brandler claims that he is not doing this to destroy the painting, but instead to display it, preserve it, and protect it. The Perspex plastic cover that was placed over the painting would result in moisture being unable to escape from the wall, damaging the artwork.

It is somewhat special to witness a Banksy mural in its natural setting, untouched and unharmed. However, the fact that it is being sold will not take anything away the magic of the story – the fact that Banksy visited a street in Lenton is something that will never be forgotten by residents of Nottingham anytime soon.

Gemma Cockrell

Featured image courtesy of Maya Israel. No changes were made to this image.

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