Wealthy locals in Cornwall have got art removed from a gallery - because it attacks billionaires, writes Tom Bevan.

Award-winning artist Andrew Swan was left shocked after his latest exhibition was taken down after a number of complaints from members of Trebah Gardens.

His works, titled 'Stinking Rich: The Cost of Wealth,' was aimed at exploring the impact that extreme wealth is having on our environment and society.

Each piece focused on the activities of four British-based billionaires: James Dyson, Jim Ratcliffe, Kirsten Rausing, and Denise Coates.

The subjects are each represented on four plinths that resemble tomb covers and are accompanied by panels of information for the onlooker to interpret.

But staff at Trebah Gardens, on the Helford River near Falmouth, Cornwall, say it upset visitors and they took it down after it was deemed "too depressing'' or ''too political''.

Andrew, based in Penzance, Cornwall, said he was 'bewildered' at the action taken and the issues raised.

He said: "I didn't expect to be following in the footsteps of the likes of Picasso, Manet and Duchamp, attracting such controversy!

"I love Trebah Gardens Gallery and the team there, I'm just a little bewildered that a few visitors found the topic of extreme wealth and the impact it is having on our environment and society so uncomfortable - especially during the current cost of living crisis.

"I think it probably says more about these people than any of my artwork!"

Andrew, who is a member of the Newlyn Society of Artists and co-founder of The Penzance Festival of Art, said the work was an "intentionally thought-provoking piece, questioning privilege, responsibility, and consequences."

He added: "The explanation was that there had been a number of complaints from long-term members of Trebah Gardens who said that my work was 'depressing'."

Jon Cummins, chief of the Trebah Garden Trust, said the site was trialling exhibitions and he had to "use my instincts, based on the feedback that I'd received".

He added: "When people are coming to you and saying: 'This is outrageous,' or 'I don't think Trebah should have it,' or 'It's too political', then I thought that perhaps I need to take some action.

"Following several complaints from visitors and Trebah Garden members, we took the decision to ask the curators to remove Andrew Swan’s piece ‘Stinking Rich’ from display on 2 August.

"We’d like to be clear; the request to remove this piece is in no way a judgement on the quality of Andrew Swan’s work, or any other artworks on display within the ‘In This Together’ Exhibition, which we are delighted to host.

"In This Together has been curated by two of the artists involved, with the objective of the exhibition to create constructive conversation around climate change and to provide an additional experience for garden visitors within a large indoor space previously used for retail.

"Our priority has always been the garden visit and to provide an enjoyable and welcoming experience for everyone at Trebah. Trebah is renowned for its garden, which attracts many thousands of visitors annually, but part of our charitable purpose also relates to education, art and science, which is the reason we have been trialling exhibitions in 2023.

"This exhibition is one of a number we have hosted so far this year.

"The ‘In This Together’ exhibition remains open until Saturday 19 August. We remain very grateful to all the artists involved in this exhibition and to the curators for their efforts in bringing these works to Trebah."