The Vanity of Small Differences

Grayson Perry Expulsion from Number 8 Eden Close, 2012

Source: © Grayson Perry. Photography © Stephen White

Grayson PerryExpulsion from Number 8 Eden Close, 2012

‘The British care about taste because it’s inextricable woven into our system of social class’, writes artist Grayson Perry.

‘I think that – more than any other social factor, more than age, race, religion or sexuality – one’s social class determines one’s taste.’

Grayson Perry #Lamentation, 2012

Source: © Grayson Perry. Photography © Stephen White

Grayson Perry#Lamentation, 2012

It’s a fascinating topic – one explored so beautifully by Perry in his series of six tapestries, The Vanity of Small Differences, which examine class and taste through large-scale, brightly coloured weavings.

Research image for upper class depiction at Chavenage House
Research image for upper class depiction at Chavenage House

The process of creating the works was documented in last year’s Channel 4 documentary, All in the Best Possible Taste with Grayson Perry.

The final exhibition, which was on display at London’s Victoria Miro Gallery, is now travelling the country as a Hayward Gallery touring exhibition.

Grayson Perry The Annunciation of the Virgin Deal, 2012

Source: © Grayson Perry. Photography © Stephen White

Grayson PerryThe Annunciation of the Virgin Deal, 2012

It’s a wonderfully compelling show – warm, open, hilariously funny at times, and poignantly tragic at others.

A new catalogue book designed by Pony Ltd uncovers the process of creating the tapestries, and reveals insights into the lives of the people that inform them.

The ladies from Sunderland who inspired part of the tapestry

Source: © Grayson Perry

The ladies from Sunderland who inspired part of the tapestry

It’s a touching tribute to the peculiarities and eccentric customs that shape the British class system, and thus the barometers of taste within each strata.

With a gorgeously colourful and tactile cloth cover, the book offers gorgeous close ups of the works, revealing the intricacies that go into each piece.

A number of sections fold out into large panels, with text explaining the isolated image written by Perry himself.

Sketchbook image

Source: © Grayson Perry

Sketchbook image

Preceding the close-up plates are some extracts from Perrys sketchbooks, showing preparatory notes and the charming, crudely drawn doodlings  that went on to create the final characters, compositions and stories.

Sketchbook image

Source: © Grayson Perry

Sketchbook image

Grayson Perry, 
The Vanity of Small Differences, is available now priced £17.99. The exhibition is showing in Sunderland Museum until 29 September and will then move on to Manchester Art Gallery, Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery, Walker Art Gallery in Liverpool and Leeds Art Gallery

Grayson Perry The Adoration of the Cage Fighters, 2012

Source: © Grayson Perry. Photography © Stephen White

Grayson PerryThe Adoration of the Cage Fighters, 2012

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