Banksy's Balloon Girl revealed as the UK’s favourite British artwork

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Street artist Banksy has been ranked ahead of the likes of Turner and Constable with his Balloon Girl ranked the “nation’s favourite British artwork” in a new study which shines a spotlight on our ever-changing tastes in art. The piece was originally painted on the wall of a print shop in Shoreditch in 2002. The mysterious Bristol street artist, who makes witty and profound social statements with his infamous stencils, topped the list of artistic greats with his 2002 work, in a UK-wide survey to get a better picture of the art which makes us tick. Constable’s The Hay Wain, which hangs in the National Gallery, was second.


The Frame National Art Audit from experiential agency Taylor Herring, tasked 2,000 British adults with voting for their favourite visual artworks from a shortlist drawn up by a panel of dedicated arts editors and writers. The results see contemporary artists on a par with the old masters – pointing to an eclectic national taste that even allows for works which have been mass produced on an industrial scale. The heavily reproduced The Singing Butler by Jack Vettriano takes third position, whilst album artwork owned by millions is now considered fair game as decorative art, with record sleeves for The Beatles, Pink Floyd and The Sex Pistols highly prized by the nation and figuring in the top 20.


The Art Audit was commissioned to mark the launch of The Frame – a ground-breaking new TV from Samsung, which aims to blend art and technology. The innovative screen seamlessly becomes a piece of art when not being used, with Art Mode offering over 100 specially curated built in pieces of art (with many more available for purchase), or the option to display your own cherished photography.

The nation’s favourite artworks by British artists were:

Banksy; Balloon Girl – 44%

John Constable; The Hay Wain – 33%

Jack Vettriano; The Singing Butler – 31%

JMW Turner; The Fighting Temeraire – 30%

Antony Gormley; The Angel of the North – 27%

L S Lowry; Going to the Match – 26%

John William Waterhouse; The Lady of Shalott – 26%

Peter Blake; The Beatles Sgt Pepper album cover – 23%

Hipgnosis and George Hardie; Pink Floyd Dark Side of the Moon album cover – 23%

George Stubbs; Mares and Foals – 22%

Thomas Gainsborough; Mr and Mrs Andrews – 20%

John Everett Millais; Ophelia – 14%

Andy Goldsworthy; Balanced Rock Misty – 13%

David Hockney; A Bigger Splash – 11%

Bridget Riley; Movement in Squares – 11%

Anish Kapoor; ArcelorMittal Orbit – 11%

Stik; A Couple Hold Hands in the Street – 10%

Maggi Hambling; Scallop – 10%

Henry Moore; Reclining Figure – 9%

Jamie Reid; The Sex Pistols Never Mind the Bollocks album cover – 9%

More than half the top 20 was drawn from works created in the 20th and 21st century, despite the riches stretching back across the preceding centuries. Indeed, nearly a third of the works (30%) date from just the past 25 years. The nation’s love of sculpture, public art and record sleeves meant that only half the top 20 works were traditional paintings or drawings. Installations by the likes of Damien Hirst and Tracey Emin, despite commanding top dollar from collectors, failed to connect with the public and did not make the top 20.


The Hay Wain by John Constable

Two female artists also appear in the top 20 with Bridget Riley’s Movement in Squares and Maggi Hambling’s Scallop reaching 15th and 18th place respectively. The study found that more than eight in ten (86%) of those who display artworks in their home hang pictures as their primary source of home decoration, followed by family photographs (55%).


Sgt Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band by Peter Blake

However, Brits should also be wary of what they display – the findings suggested that over seven in ten of us (73%) admit we judge people based on the art and pictures we see in their homes. With that in mind, one in five of those in the study (19%) said they have changed or hidden artwork when they had visitors for fear of what people may think. The survey shows that more than two-fifths of us (42%) are funding the artists of today – and possibly the stars of tomorrow – by hanging original artworks in our homes.


The Singing Butler by Jack Vettriano

And the changing tastes in what constitute artworks are demonstrated by the number of people who say they hang record sleeves on their walls, with 38% saying they did so. The resurgence in vinyl sales over the past few years has been partly fuelled by buyers snapping up albums to display rather than play. The survey also shows that landscapes are our most popular choice of visual art (60%) with photography (48%) and portraits (29%) close behind.


Dark Side of the Moon by Hipgnosis and George Hardie

The home appears to be the place many people use to appreciate art – while almost three quarters of Brits say they have some form of artwork on their walls (70%), less than half have visited a gallery in the past year (46%). The pre-loaded art on the Samsung’s The Frame means Brits can enjoy art in their homes for no extra cost thanks to the TV’s 100 specially curated built-in works of art, or the option to display your own cherished photography.


The Angel of the North by Antony Gormley

Robert King, VP of Consumer Electronics at Samsung UK and Ireland said: “It’s fascinating to lift the lid on the nation’s art tastes and also to get an idea of the changing nature of the way we consume artworks. Now we are taking another step in this evolution by transforming the TV screen into a gallery with the launch of The Frame. TVs are very much a focal point of our living spaces and this idea opens up a new way to view and display art in the heart of our homes. And unlike traditional artworks, you can change them at the press of a button to match your mood.”


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