An antique shop in Hackney has defended displaying a portrait of Nazi-era British fascist leader Oswald Mosley after complaints from shoppers.

M.Goldstein, which specialises in art, antiques and clothing, is located in Hackney Road and featured the large painting on a wall that could clearly be seen from the street.

A gentleman who answered the shop’s phone declined to give his name but said the painting had now been taken down. When asked why the portrait had been put on public display, he said: “It’s a painting. I deal in art and antiques. It’s a piece of art. It’s not what I’m about – I’ve not got any right-wing tendencies or anything.

“As much as it’s of Oswald Mosley, it’s like a Maoist portrait, it’s like a bit of propaganda, in that Andy Warhol [style]… it’s quite Orwellian in its outlook it’s from the period, obviously.”

He added: “It’s already off the wall – it’s been hanging in there for some time and I just got bored of it. It’s alright saying it’s a portrait of a fascist or one of the Blackshirts or an anti-Semite or whatever you want to call them, but it happens to be quite an attractive painting above all, which is what is was doing there in the first place. But that’s not what we’re about. It’s not even hanging in there anymore.”

Mosely was founding leader of the British Union of Fascists. Adolf Hitler attended his 1936 wedding to Diana Mitford, held at the Berlin home of Joseph Goebbels.