By Maev Kennedy
Bristol street artist’s Girl with Balloon, originally stencil on side of bridge, beats Constable idyll in poll of nation’s best-loved art
An image of a little girl sadly watching her heart-shaped red balloon drift away, originally a stencil on a grimy wall by Banksy, has toppled Constable’s Hay Wain as the nation’s best-loved work of art.
The most famous version of Girl with Balloon, by the Bristol-born street artist, appeared on the side of a bridge on the South Bank in London in 2002. It is now ubiquitous, available as prints, greeting cards and mugs, as an instant street artist kit in a precut stencil marketed by a firm in the US, and as a recent addition to the impressive collection of tattoos almost covering the skin of pop star Justin Bieber.