A series of six unique tapestries by Turner Prize winning artist Grayson Perry are to be woven throughout the historic setting of the Tudor-Jacobean Temple Newsam House as the final location of the exhibition’s UK tour. Temple Newsam physically represents over 500 years of taste and fashion in its varying interiors and collections of decorative arts, fine paintings, furniture, silver, ceramics and textiles.
The owners of this former family home reflect their individuality and class in the surroundings, furniture and ornaments, either given, collected or bought. Each of Perry’s tapestries will be suspended from hanging rails and will, therefore, seem to be part of the permanent collection, continuing through a suite of rooms in one of the house’s vast wings.
Perry’s tapestries are well placed as they portray a fascination with class and taste, how both affect our choices and why; meanwhile Temple Newsam itself charts a course through the changing styles of Country House taste as determined by the English wealthy elite, physically epitomising the various issues related to class within British Society.
The images the tapestries bear are imposing, bold and brash, and infuse a clever mix of clashing iconography, which we are able to understand as it surrounds us – perhaps often unnoticeably – in our daily lives. Having been created by Perry in 2012 alongside the Channel 4 BAFTA award winning series All in the Best Possible Taste with Grayson Perry, this landmark collection may be familiar to visitors – also bearing strong resemblance to the well-known series of paintings, A Rake’s Progress by William Hogarth. Perry has contemporised Hogarth’s work, appropriating it to tell the story of 21st century social mobility via a fictional character, Tim Rakewell.
To celebrate the influence of Hogarth upon Perry, The Vanity of Small Differences will be accompanied by a selection of Hogarth’s work from Leeds Art Gallery, and a schedule that includes talks, tours and events.
Grayson Perry: The Vanity of Small Differences, until 7 December. Temple Newsam Temple Newsam Road, off Selby Road, Leeds, LS15 0AE. For more information visit www.leeds.gov.uk.
1. Grayson Perry, The Upper Class at Bay. Courtesy of the artist and Temple Newsam.
Follow us on Twitter @AestheticaMag for the latest news in contemporary art and culture.