World’s biggest Banksy the ‘White House Rat’ leaves UK to be auctioned off

Banksy's biggest ever work is being hauled out of the UK to be sold at a Netherlands auction.

White House Rat mural appeared on the side of a Liverpool pub as part of the city's Biennial in 2004.

It disappeared when the building was revamped in 2013 but photos have shown it being lifted by crane on to a flatbed lorry, the Liverpool Echo reports.

The mural, which stood on a wall of the White House Pub, will be delivered to auction house Hessink's next week to be sold next month.

Hessink's say it is the "world's biggest" work by the mystery street artist, and will require a crane again to lift it in to place for the auction.

Its exact whereabouts since then remained mostly unknown, apart from a brief appearance in London in 2018.

Many hoped it would return to Liverpool at some point.

Hessink’s director, Richard Hessink, said he believed it would be a shame for Liverpool to lose the work forever.

He said: “We would love to see it end up back in the public domain in Liverpool where Banksy made it.

“Many of Banksy’s early works have already been lost and Liverpool, it is said, has not one single work left for the public to enjoy.

Had the city acted earlier and taken the works to one of Liverpool’s museums it would have been protected for generations to come and people to enjoy."

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Hessink's said the mural sold for £114,000 at its last auction after being removed from the building in 48 pieces in a process that took months.

In a statement the auction house said: "Due to its enormous size, it will not be possible to bring this Banksy through the front door.

"It is for this reason that Hessink’s has contacted the crane company Russcher from Staphorst in the Netherlands, who will lift the work over the building to gain access to the back."

Controversy has surrounded the treatment of many of Banksy's works, which are mostly in public spaces.

Attempts to move them out of public view and into private collections have been criticised by many, including the artist themselves.

The White House Pub was later renovated by Ascot Property Group and became Petit Café Du Coin, a French inspired café and bar serving wine, cheese boards and cocktails.

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