26 July 2017

Brits reveal all-time top 20 works of art — and we prefer street-style spray paint to classic old masters

WHEN it comes to art, Brits know their oils from their aerosols  –  and they actually prefer a bit of street-style spray paint to classic old masters.

For graffiti artist Banksy’s 2002 street daubing Balloon Girl has beaten works by painters such as Turner and Constable in a poll to find the nation’s 20 favourite artworks.

Artist David Hockney who made it into the top twenty redesigned The Sun masthead earlier this year

The list has three LP covers – The Beatles’ Sgt Pepper, Dark Side Of The Moon by Pink Floyd and the Sex Pistols’ Never Mind The Bollocks.

Here, NICK PRITCHARD is your gallery guide.

1. Banksy: Balloon Girl,   2002

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Spray paint on a shop wall in Shoreditch, East London. In 2014 the mural was removed from the shop and then sold for £500,000.

2. John Constable: The Hay Wain, 1821

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The oil on    canvas painting shows a scene of the River Stour on the Essex-Suffolk border is in the National Gallery.

3. Jack Vettriano: The Singing Butler,   1992

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Oil on canvas painting of a couple dancing on a beach as servants hold brollies is the UK’s best-selling print.

4. JMW Turner: The Fighting Temeraire, 1839

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A poignant  oil on canvas portrait of a heroic Trafalgar warship on her way to the scrapyard.

5. Antony Gormley:   The Angel Of The North, 1998


A bronze model of the steel sculpture was valued at £1million on The Antiques Roadshow, the TV show’s most valuable ever item.

6. L S Lowry:  Going To The Match, 1928

PA:Press Association

The artist was a Man City fan and this oil on canvas work is owned by footie players’ union the PFA.

7. John William Waterhouse: The   Lady Of Shalott, 1888

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The oil on canvas work, from the Tennyson poem of the same name, depicts a lovelorn woman journeying to Camelot and certain death.[/caption]

8. Peter Blake and Jann  Haworth: Sgt Pepper album cover, 1967

Hyper Gallery

Rejected cover stars included Jesus, Hitler and actor Leo Gorcey – who had demanded £300.

9. Hipgnosis And George  Hardie: Dark Side Of The Moon album cover, 1973

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An earlier design with superhero The Silver Surfer was rejected by the band’s record label.

10. George Stubbs: Mares And Foals, 1768

PA:Press Association

One of the paintings in the same series was sold at ­auction in 2010 when it fetched more than £10million.

11. Thomas Gainsborough: Mr And Mrs Andrews, 1750

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The oil   on canvas work was in the Andrews family until 1960 when it was sold for £130,000 and is now in the National Gallery.

12. John Everett Millais: Ophelia, 1851-1852

Bridgeman Art Library

Model Elizabeth Siddal caught a bad cold from posing in a bath for this oil on canvas painting, so her father wrote to Millais demanding £50 in expenses.

13. Andy Goldsworthy: Balanced Rock Misty, 1979

© Andy Goldsworthy

Andy is said to be the founder of rock balancing, a global . . . er, art movement.

14. David Hockney: A Bigger    Splash, 1967


Hockney famously went on to redesign The Sun’s masthead for a special edition of the paper this year.

15. Bridget Riley: Movement In  Squares, 1961

Arts Council

The tempera on hardboard optical illusion has made some London gallery visitors complain that it makes them feel sick.

16. Anish Kapoor:   Orbit Tower, 2012

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The 376ft tower at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in Stratford, East London, is open to the public, who can pay £11.50 to slide down it – if they dare.

17. Stik: A Couple  Hold Hands In The Street, 2010

Stik said he was nervous about his spray painting near a Brick Lane Mosque in East London picturing a woman in a burka but the Muslim community embraced it.

18. Maggi Hambling: Scallop, 2003

Clynt Garnham

The 10ft Benjamin Britten tribute has been vandalised and there have been petitions to get it taken off Aldeburgh Beach, Suffolk.

19. Henry Moore: Reclining Figure, 1969-1970


A cast of the bronze sculpture was stolen in 2005 and police think thieves sold it for scrap for just £1,500 – it was worth £3million.

20. Jamie Reid: Never  Mind the Bollocks album cover, 1977

The Sex Pistols’ sleeve caused a storm, with police warning record stores they faced prosecution for indecency if they displayed it.

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