Bay Banksy sold to an Essex Gallery

Torbay Weekly

Torquay’s Banksy has found a new home after being sold to collector John Brandler, who is based in Essex.

The Banksy image was created in October 2010 on the wall of the Abbey Sands Hotel, formerly The Grosvenor, but spent much of its time in Torquay covered up, as workmen carried out repairs at the hotel.

The picture has now moved on to a different location and surely a missed opportunity for the Bay to harness the benefit of a unique attraction.

“I’ve been dealing in Banksy art for many years,” said John. “I’m known for buying street art and I bought a Banksy from a place in Port Talbot, as well as one called Hoola Hoop Girl in Nottingham.

“There was a lot of press about the sale in Nottingham and that prompted the owner of the Torquay hotel to get in touch and see if I was interested in his Banksy. The boy with the box on his head was allegedly a self-portrait by Banksy, while others have said it was a member of staff who had been sacked.

“I know from experience that when a picture is boarded up, mould can develop on the wall and this will gradually eat the picture, so I agreed to buy the picture from the hotel but, due to Covid, it has taken around 14 months to remove it.

“The picture will be restored and hopefully on show in a museum in the near future, but what I find sad is the name Banksy is a huge tourist attraction. Torquay is a tourist town and I was very surprised the Banksy became available.

“When I bought the Banksy from a hill in Port Talbot, they had 2,000 people per day coming to view the art. It could have been the same in Torquay. There was a lot of coverage when the picture first appeared but nothing happened from there.

“It is a fantastic piece that makes people smile and the people who travel around viewing Banksy art are generally in their 30’s, so it could have been new visitors to Torquay.”