Grayson Perry Tapestries to Be Exhibited at Pitzhanger Manor

Six large-scale works by the Turner-Prize-winning artist to be shown

Grayson Perry, Expulsion from Number 8 Eden Close, 2012. Arts Council Collection, Southbank Centre, London © Grayson Perry
Grayson Perry, Expulsion from Number 8 Eden Close, 2012. Arts Council Collection, Southbank Centre, London © Grayson Perry

June 3, 2024

Six monumental tapestries by Grayson Perry are to be put on display at Pitzhanger Manor & Gallery. The Arts Council Collection Touring Exhibition is something of a homecoming for the works which were inspired by William Hogarth’s A Rakes Progress which was originally purchased for and displayed in the Ealing House.

The Vanity of Small Differences will be open from 10 July to 8 December 2024.

Turner-Prize-winning Sir Grayson Perry CBE RA Hon FRIBA is a chronicler of contemporary life who aims to tackles subjects that are universally human: identity, gender, social status, sexuality and religion.

The set of monumental tapestries offer a contemporary re-reading of Hogarth's A Rake's Progress, a series of eight satirical paintings depicting a riches-to-rags tale of Tom Rakewell in 18th-century London. Hogarth’s original paintings were bought by Sir John Soane’s wife 222 years ago to be displayed at Pitzhanger. The Soanes subsequently moved with their art collections to Lincoln’s Inn Fields. However, Pitzhanger continues to display a full series of framed 18th century engravings of A Rake’s Progress in their original setting of the Soane’s drawing room. Visitors to the exhibition will be able to compare and contrast both intricately detailed morality tales.

Taking Hogarth’s famed series as a starting point, Perry’s tapestries depict a corresponding fable of class, taste and social mobility. Weaving the complex ‘class journey’ of the fictional protagonist, Tim Rakewell, the tapestries include many of the characters, incidents and objects Grayson Perry encountered on his journeys throughout Sunderland, Tunbridge Wells and The Cotswolds for the BAFTA award-winning television series All in the Best Possible Taste with Grayson Perry.

Grayson Perry said, “The tapestries tell the story of class mobility, for I think nothing has as strong an influence on our aesthetic taste as the social class in which we grow up. I am interested in the politics of consumerism and the story of popular design but, for this project, I focus on the emotional investment we make in the things we choose to live with, wear, eat, read, or drive. Class and taste run deep in our character—we care. This emotional charge is what draws me to a subject.”

The Vanity of Small Differences is jointly owned by the Arts Council Collection and the British Council Collection, gift of the artist and Victoria Miro Gallery, with the support of Channel 4 Television, the Art Fund and Sfumato Foundation with additional support from Alix Partners.

Clare Gough, Director of Pitzhanger Manor & Gallery, said, "We are delighted to showcase Grayson Perry's ‘The Vanity of Small Differences’ at Pitzhanger. This exhibition not only resonates with Soane’s own display of William Hogarth’s paintings here at Pitzhanger, but also continues our mission to present thought-provoking art that reflects society today. We hope to draw in a wide and diverse audience to enjoy these witty and satirical tapestries."

Grayson Perry: The Vanity of Small Differences runs concurrently alongside Pitzhanger’s other exhibitions: A Fine Line: Modern Makers at Pitzhanger and From Waste to Wonder: The Art of Sustainable Transformation, where contemporary art stimulates a new perspective of historic architecture.

Pitzhanger Manor and Gallery is open from Wednesday to Sunday 10am–5pm , including Bank Holidays (First Thursday of the Month: 10am–8pm).

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