Flying Copper is an iconic piece from Banksy’s early work. The image depicts a heavily armed British police officer with angel wings and a yellow smiley face.
The work first appeared under a number of giant cut-out paintings suspended on cardboard from the ceiling at Turf War, Banksy’s first major exhibition in a warehouse in East London in 2003. The cut-outs were then spotted on the streets of Vienna and London, where the stencil appeared with a distinct red Banksy tag through the middle of it. Shoreditch Bridge also featured a row of Flying Coppers.
This spray is very close to the image used for the printed edition of smiling copper. But notice that it lacks the "police" tag on the chest.
This particular work originates from Turf War preparation. It was gifted to a Banksy helper. A letter confirming this and the collaboration with the artist included.
A six part stencil was used by the artist. This is considered a test spray. Notice the wings as one stencil. The body in tow parts. No POLICE tag and the left underarm and belt missing compared to ex the litho.