Locals have been left wondering whether their town has received a visit from world-famous graffiti artist Banksy.
A stencilled piece of graffiti recreating one of his most famous works – but with a slight twist in tribute to the Queen – has appeared near the canal in Royal Wootton Bassett.
The artwork is a recreation of the ‘Balloon Girl’ which depicts a windswept girl losing a heart-shaped balloon. The one spotted in Bassett is almost identical except it has EIIR within the balloon – the Queen’s royal cypher.
A reader sent in a photo and said: “I spotted this on my walk this morning by the canal in Royal Wootton Bassett. Is it Banksy? I cannot say but looks impressive regardless,” said one member of the public who stumbled upon it during a walk this morning.
“It was just by a bridge that went over the railway track, I can’t remember which one exactly. Quite possibly Noremarsh Bridge,” they added.
They went on to say that they had spoken to some dog walkers who said that the artwork was not there ‘earlier Sunday morning’, so it must have been painted sometime just before noon.
The dog walkers are all said to have seen ‘someone in the area’.
Bassett has strong links to the Queen because of the town’s role in welcoming back repatriated soldiers who died overseas – earning it royal patronage.
It was only the third town in the UK to be granted such an honour, and the first since 1909.
This would make it a fitting location for a Banksy dedicated to Queen Elizabeth II – and the ‘Balloon Girl’ piece will be a fitting way to capture the emotion of losing the long-standing monarch for many.
But Banksy usually claims his pieces shortly after doing them in his Instagram page and he very rarely rehashes old work, so we’ll have to wait and see if the infamous artist does claim to be responsible for this piece.
This isn’t the first possible-Banksy to be spotted in the Swindon area though, as a Banksy-style piece popped up on the old Stagecoach bus depot in Old Town in 2021.
While the black and white boy wearing a flat cap and holding a sign that read “Wild £ man on the run. Heading for Bristol. Dodge News.” caused a stir, and was even protected by security.
It was never confirmed as a Banksy and has been largely ignored since.