A Banksy work painted over by property owner is on sale for £700,000

  • Appache Attack helicopters appeared outside London office building in 2006
  • Spray-painted work painted over after owner had enough of artists fans arriving
  • Now art has been discovered and restored to former glory as it goes to auction

An original work by Banksy that was painted over by a property owner is up for sale for £700,000 after being saved by art conservationists.

The world-famous street artist spray-painted Appache Attack helicopters with pink bows on them on the outside wall of an office building in Holywell Row, Shoreditch, east London, in 2006.

He signed the work, called Holywell Row Happy Helicopters, which was later officially documented in the seminel book Banksy Captured.

However, the former owner of the building became irritated after a security light was being constantly activated by Banksy fans who turned up to view it.

Ultimately, he had the artwork covered over in black paint and when he sold the premises to the current owner in 2007 he failed to mention that the hidden Banksy could be found on the wall.

The famous street artist spray-painted Appache Attack helicopters with pink bows on them on the outside wall of an office building in Holywell Row, Shoreditch, east London, in 2006

He signed the work, which has now been restored and framed called Holywell Row Happy Helicopters, which was later officially documented in the seminel book Banksy Captured

It was only when the new owner was flicking through another book on Banksy’s art that he saw a photo of it on the very building wall that he owned.

He immediately rushed outside and could just about make out a part of a helicopter propeller that hadn’t been painted over.

The vendor, who is not being named, commissioned a fine art conservator who specialised in restoring Old Master paintings to salvage the Banksy.

The layer of black paint and additional graffiti was tested so a bespoke cleaning solution could be made to strip it off without harming the precious art work hidden underneath.

The 3ins thick wall render was then carefully removed in eight rectangular sections and taken away.

After a year of conservation work, the work has been turned into a 6ft by 4ft mural which has been framed.

It is now coming up for auction with Anderson & Garland Auctioneers of Newcastle for £500,000 to £700,000.

The vendor, who wishes to remain anonymous, said: ‘We were astounded to discover that our office building was the canvas for an artwork of this significance, and what was more, it had been painted over by the previous owner.

‘We wanted to ensure the integrity of the piece so approached restoration specialists to fid the best way of preserving it for generations to come.

Banksy's famous mural

Another of Banksy's most famous artworks is the Girl With Balloon (2004)

‘To our knowledge no one had attempted to rescue a fragile work of high-profile street art like this before. As the piece had been painted on render, after several abortive attempts, the decision was made to remove it in sections by specialists.’

Chris Bull, of The Fine Art Restoration Company that worked on the project said: ‘The conservation of Happy Choppers took over a year to complete.

‘Previous overpaint and localised graffiti was also removed without disturbing Banky’s original stencil.

‘As these murals do not use a medium traditionally found in art, our conservators investigated the chemistry of the original pigments and developed new.

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