Banksy works belonging to Robbie Williams sold at auction
Banksy's 'Vandalised Oils (Choppers)', owned by the pop star Robbie Williams, sold for £4.4 million at Sotheby's in London Tolga Akmen AFP

Two works by the mystery British artist Banksy belonging to the singer Robbie Williams both sold for several million pounds at auction in London on Wednesday.

"Vandalised Oil (Choppers)", showing two low-flying military helicopters buzzing a pastoral idyll, went for nearly £4.4 million (5.3 million euros, $5.9 million).

The work -- described by auction house Sotheby's as depicting the artist's "anti-war message" -- had been expected to go for between £2.5 million and £3.5 million.

The tableau recalls the 1979 film about the Vietnam war, "Apocalypse Now", when US attack helicopters strafe enemy positions to Richard Wagner's "Ride of the Valkyries".

In its catalogue note, Sotheby's said it also reflected Banksy's opposition to the second Iraq war, when he handed out stencilled placards at London protests in 2003.

Another Bansky owned by former Take That singer Williams, "Girl with Balloon", in spray paint on metal, sold for just over £2.8 million, having been priced at £2-3 million.

Williams acquired it directly from the elusive graffiti artist in 2006. The picture is one of his most famous images, showing a young girl holding her hand out towards a red heart-shaped balloon.

Bansky has reproduced the image in a number of different forms.

A partially shredded version -- "Love is in the Bin" -- sold at Sotheby's in October last year for a staggering £18.58 million in a new record for a British artist.

The artwork had been bought three years earlier for a fraction of the price but soared in value when it was passed through a shredder hidden in its frame.

In March 2021, another Bansky work, "Game Changer", honoring medical staff during the coronavirus pandemic, sold for £14.4 million at Christie's.

The proceeds were donated to the state-run National Health Service (NHS).

© 2022 AFP