Painting donated to Zoological Society of East Anglia by mysterious Suffolk artist goes up for auction

The painting called ‘Anxiety’ by the mystery artist, otherwise known as the ‘Suffolk Banksy’ Credit: Zoological Society of East Anglia

A painting by a mystery Suffolk artist, that was donated to the Zoological Society of East Anglia, is going up for auction.

It was left at the gates of Banham Zoo in Norfolk during lockdown by an artist called 'The Hat'.

The identity of The Hat is unknown, but there are rumours it could be global superstar Ed Sheeran. 

The Zoological Society of East Anglia, (ZSEA) the charity which runs Banham Zoo in Norfolk and Africa Alive! in Suffolk, is putting the painting up for auction on Saturday.

The painting was left at the gates of Banham Zoo under the cover of darkness while the zoo was closed to the public. Credit: ITV Anglia

The money will go towards the charity's fundraising campaign that was set up to help Banham Zoo and Africa Alive! survive the financial impact of the pandemic.

“Thank you to ‘The Hat’ for such a kind and generous gesture during our time of need", Claudia Roberts, Managing Director, said.

‘Anxiety’ is a magnificent painting that would make a beautiful addition to any home or private collection.

“We are delighted to have raised £50,000 so far through ‘Wild about Survival’, but we still have a mountain to climb. ZSEA needs a minimum of £25,000 per week to care for more than 10,000 animals at both zoos; now with the added pressure of not receiving any income during two lockdowns.

"By putting this painting up for auction, as requested by the Hat in their handwritten note, it means that a lucky member of the public can enjoy it from the comfort of their own home and we also get to raise vital funds. We are very grateful to The Hat, whoever they may be!”. 

ZSEA were forced to close both of their zoos in March and last month due to the coronavirus pandemic and lost almost £2 million in visitor income.

Although the zoos reopened, the implementation of social distancing measures and limited visitor numbers means the charity is still forecasting a drop in revenue.