This month council officials in Hackney painted over a Banksy graffiti sketch from which a reworked version was derived as the cover artwork for the 2003 single Crazy Beat by the band Blur.
The artwork – a cartoon of the royal family waving from a balcony – had been left untouched on the side of a block of flats in Stoke Newington, east London, for eight years before Hackney Council intervened last week.
The owner of the building, Sophie Attrill, told the Hackney Gazette that she was devastated when she saw the wall being painted.
“I looked out the window and saw what they were doing, so I ran downstairs and I told them to stop,” said Attrill. Hackney Council said it tried to contact Attrill before ordering the artwork to be painted over, but notices asking her to remove or cover up the piece had not reached her address due to the Land Registry having the incorrect contact details.
Officials removed the sketch by Banksy – whose works have sold for hundreds of thousands of pounds – as his largest exhibition to date, in Bristol, prepared to close. The exhibition has attracted over 300,000 visitors since 13 June, raising £45,000 in museum donations, and is estimated to have been worth £10m to the local economy.
Banksy vs Bristol Museum featured more than 100 works of art. The notoriously secretive artist was reported to have been secretly adding new installations to the exhibition by night.
This shows that street art has been recognised as a true art form and maybe someone at Hackney Council should have done some more research!