Banksy – Very Little Helps in Essex Road, London (also known as ‘Tesco kids’)
Originally painted in 2008 on the side of a pharmacy in Essex Road, London this Banksy piece entitled Very Little Helps later became a limited edition print. Using existing infrastructure as a flag pole it shows a child running a Tesco bag up a flagpole while two other children look up and pledge their allegiance.
As was customary by this time it’s appearance was immediately accompanied by a constant stream of onlookers (there’s a great time lapse of this by Romany Wg here). It’s value was quickly communicated to the building owner and was covered in perspex and treated with some protective varnish of some sort which changed the colour of the work. Later, as part of a feud with Robbo, it was hit again with the flag being changed to pay tribute to the graffiti writer. The work is still in situ, under graffiti coloured discoloured perspex to the point where it is no longer visible.
A sketch of the work was auctioned to raise funds for Ken Livingstone’s 2008 London Mayor re-election campaign. It sold for 195,000 pounds but the final amount donated had to be reduced because donations from anonymous persons are not allowed. Instead on Electoral Commission advice the artwork was valued at around £73,400 (they took just the £121,600 balance from gallery owner Steve Lazrides so they could argue they had refused the sketch’s true value).