A 'Banksy' mural in Hounslow has been lovingly restored just days after being "defaced".
The popular artwork, featuring a pouting girl under the word 'Smile' was covered with black paint on Friday (March 13), making it appear the subject was wearing a burka.
But the mural, which has graced the wall of the Platform 3 pub opposite Hounslow station since 2007, was restored to something close to its former glory come Sunday (March 15).
Where before only the girl's defiant, narrowed eyes peered out, her pouting lips are now clearly visible again, albeit a little fainter than before.
The identity of the graffiti vandal remains a mystery, as does that of the person who removed the offending black paint to reveal the original image again.
But the mural's brief make-over has sparked calls from its legions of fans to ensure it is protected from any future cover-up jobs.
Angus Luscombe, an animation lecturer at West Thames College, in Isleworth, said: "I was worried we'd seen the end of this cheery mural which has been pleasing locals young and old for years, but a good attempt at restoration has brought it back.
"I think it now needs protecting in some way to make sure this fine piece of street art that puts Hounslow on the [unconfirmed] Banksy map can survive. Even if it isn't a Banksy, it is still lovely and deserves to be looked after."
The mural appeared on the wall of what was then the North Star pub in 2007 and was immediately ascribed to the famously secretive street artist Banksy, though it has never been confirmed as one of his artworks.
Sandra D'Souza was first to alert getwestlondon to its modified appearance at the weekend. She said she was horrified to see it "defaced", though her husband speculated 'Banksy' himself may have been responsible for the modification.
Fans of the mural pointed out that a number of graffiti tags had appeared above the girl's head some time before she was largely obscured on Friday.
Whether it is a true Banksy original or not, the mural is popular among locals.
Claire Madden wrote on Facebook that the mural "always makes me smile", while Suki Kaur shared a photo of her niece posing beside the artwork, mimicking the girl's pout.