Live updates

Advertisement

Banksy mural withdrawn from sale

A Banksy mural at the centre of a controversial auction was withdrawn from sale at the 11th hour.

Slave Labour, which shows a young boy hunched over a sewing machine making Union Jack bunting, appeared on a wall in Wood Green, north London, last May, just before the Diamond Jubilee celebrations.

It disappeared from the side of the Poundland store last weekend and was due to be auctioned thousands of miles away in Miami last night, where it was expected to sell for up to £450,000.

But a spokesman for auction house Fine Art Auctions Miami (FAAM) confirmed that Slave Labour and Wet Dog, a second Banksy painting listed, had been withdrawn from sale. No reason was given.

"It's a true credit to the community that their campaigning appears to have helped to stop the sale of this artwork from going ahead.

We will continue to explore all options to bring back Banksy to the community where it belongs."

– Claire Kober, Leader of Haringey Council

Advertisement

'Banksy' auctioneer: Brits think they own this artwork

Auctioneer Frederic Thut, who will auction the 'Banksy' on Saturday (February 23) insists that the artwork was acquired legally from the owner of the wall - but that local laws prevent him from revealing their identity.

He has accused local people of assuming moral ownership of something that is not theirs.

The owner of the wall, on which the artwork was stenciled, remains a mystery to local people in Wood Green.

Retailer Poundland, which occupies the building, is only a leaseholder. They say they do not condone the removal of the painting.

Councillor Alan Strickland says that locals see it as an act of theft:

"The feeling in the community here very strongly is that this is piece of art given freely by Banksy to our community. It belongs to our community, and we've really enjoyed having it here.

"It seems quite wrong to take that out secretively and sell it at auction in Miami for half a million dollars. That seems completely counter to the spirit with which Banksy gave it to us," he said.

'Banksy' considered a highlight of Miami auction

Fine Art Auctions Miami, the company that is set to sell the 'Banksy' artwork, is promoting the stencil as a highlight of tomorrow's auction.

They have put it on the front cover of the catalogue and on the home page of their website.

It is estimated that the work will fetch between $500,000 and $700,000.

The 'Banksy' is considered a highlight of the auction of modern, contemporary and street art. Credit: Reuters.
The artwork has pride of place on the home page of the Fine Art Auctions Miami website. Credit: FAAM
The auctioneers predict a sale price of up to $700,000. Credit: Reuters.
Load more updates