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Dreamland and Banksy in the High Court

Who owned the rare Banksy mural: the landlord or the tenant? Andrew Bruce, Tim Maxwell, and Becky Shaw discuss

17 September 2015

Forget the National Gallery or the Tate: if you want to learn about fine art, head to the High Court and the Rolls Building.

Just this year, two Chancery judges have had cause to examine The Cardsharps by Caravaggio in Thwaytes v Sotheby’s [2015] EWHC 36 (Ch), a professional negligence claim against auctioneers, and Art Buff by Banksy in The Creative Foundation v Dreamland Leisure [2015] EWHC 2556 (Ch), which concerned a landlord and tenant dispute as to the ownership of the mural. Sadly, this article discusses not the artistic merit of the two works, but rather, it considers the interesting landlord and tenant implications of the decision in the Creative Foundation case.

On the night of 28 September 2014, during the Folkestone Triennial, a public art project organised by the Creative Foundation, Banksy spray-painted a mural on the external flank wall of an amusement arcade occupied by Dreamland. Subsequently, at the beginning of November 2014, Dreamland caused...

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