A man who bought a Banksy artwork and arranged its removal from a city has been sent hate mail branding him an “art thief”.
Nottingham’s hula-hooping girl mural first appeared on the side of a salon on Rothesay Avenue in October.
It was bought by gallery owner John Brandler for a “six-figure” sum and cut from the wall on Wednesday morning.
Residents expressed disappointment at the move, and Mr Brandler said he has since been sent “vitriolic e-mails.”
Mr Brandler – who owns a number of the elusive artist’s pieces – said he has been written to by about 20 to 30 people and has “never had mail like it”.
He added: “I expected some of the locals to say, ‘Where’s our Banksy gone?’
“I didn’t expect someone to libel me.
“This is not just 13-year-olds at three in the morning, [one] is a man with lots of letters after his name.
“I don’t regret buying it, but I do regret that one or two people in Nottingham may stop me lending anything [to the city] in the future.
“It’s gobsmacked me.”
The mural the collector has bought attracted widespread interest from people in Nottingham, many of whom reacted with surprise and sadness at the removal.
Jasinya Powell said it was “capitalism at its finest”, while Alex Mitchell-Messam felt the artwork “should stay in the area it was put in”.
Meanwhile, a spokesman for city rejuvenation board The Nottingham Project said they were told by Banksy’s team Pest Control the work’s removal would go against his wishes.
Mr Brandler added he has not received this level of response when previously removing Banksy art.
The gallery owner – who also bought the Banksy piece Seasons Greetings from a garage in Port Talbot in 2019 – said he had saved the artwork “in time”.
He claimed it was taken before damp could cause damage under a plastic cover put on by Nottingham City Council.
The piece is being taken to Scotland to be restored. Mr Brandler said he plans to feature the work at the Moyse’s Hall Museum in Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, later this year.
On Wednesday, Mr Brandler said: “If I hadn’t bought it and removed it, in two years’ time there wouldn’t have been a Banksy there at all.
“Work with me and it would be lovely to bring the whole show back [to Nottingham].”