Recent acquisitions

Grayson Perry, Jane Austen in E17 (2009), detail  Grayson Perry, Jane Austen in E17 (2009)Grayson Perry, Jane Austen in E17 (2009), detailGrayson Perry, Jane Austen in E17 (2009)

Two works by Grayson Perry purchased for the collection

“I am delighted that such great examples of my work will be on display in Manchester. An artist is a communicator and now I have a lovely platform in the north west of England.”
Grayson Perry, November 2010

We're delighted to have recently acquired two major works by Turner Prize-winning artist Grayson Perry.

The gallery has purchased one of Grayson Perry’s most recent ceramic vases, Jane Austen in E17, and one of his first major etchings, Print for a Politician. The purchases have been made thanks to generous support from two Manchester-based families, the Goldstone and Livingstone Family Trusts, together with £24,025 funding from the Art Fund and support from the MLA/V&A Purchase Grant Fund.

Jane Austen in E17 (2009) is a beautifully executed large ceramic vase inspired in shape by Chinese porcelain, decorated with detailed drawings of elaborately dressed Georgian ladies taking tea and conversing. The genteel figures reflect Perry’s interest in the feminine and his knowledge of historic dress. They refer to the ideal view of British culture portrayed in popular costume dramas of Jane Austen's novels.

In contrast to these idealised figures, the vase also features layered photographic transfers of contemporary life, including cuttings from celebrity magazines and more sinister references to crime and surveillance, taken from the streets around Perry's studio in London's E17.

 Grayson Perry, Print for a Politician, detailGrayson Perry, Print for a Politician, detailGrayson Perry, Print for a Politician, detail


Print for a Politician (2005) is only the second print that Perry treated as a major work; it took over a month to draw. The etching shows groups of people including academics, fundamentalists, northerners, parents and transvestites in a landscape setting, each group given a name, like a place name on an old map. All the groups are armed for battle, with weapons of war from different periods and cultures. Perry’s intention for this work is to show the complexity of human society. He hopes audiences will identify with one or more of the groups and realise it is possible to live together peacefully despite our differences.

Jane Austen in E17 and Print for a Politician have been chosen for acquisition by Manchester Art Gallery as two of the best examples of Perry’s distinctive, subversive work. They both reference the historical and the personal and are ambitious in concept, large in size and assured in execution.

The current Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne recently selected a black and white version of Print for a Politician from the Government Art Collection to hang in his office. The etching was also previously chosen by MP Andy Burnham for his office when he was Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport in 2008.

"Manchester Art Gallery is proud it has been able to make these acquisitions in these difficult economic times; they have only been possible due to the generosity of the Art Fund, the V&A/MLA Purchase Grant Fund and two private individuals with a great passion for art and pride in our city. We believe that visitors to Manchester Art Gallery deserve to see some of the very best art that the world has to offer, and this includes examples of contemporary works such as these recent pieces by Grayson Perry."
Councillor Mike Amesbury, Manchester City Council's Executive Member for Culture and Leisure.

"I must have made my first visit to Manchester Art Gallery over 60 years ago. My memory is of an over formal and hushed place. Nowadays it’s thronged with young people, especially animated school children learning from, being inspired and simply enjoying beautiful art. I can’t think of any work of art more likely to inspire their interest and curiosity than Grayson Perry’s exquisite pot. Janice and I are thrilled to be involved with this purchase together with our close friend Michael Goldstone, the Art Fund charity and the V&A/MLA Purchase Grant Fund."
Jack Livingstone, local benefactor.

“Grayson Perry is one of the UK’s brightest and most innovative artists, and it’s great visitors to the gallery will now be able to enjoy looking at two outstanding pieces by him. Both the vase and the print show off his artistic skill as well as his sharp sense of humour. Grayson Perry is also a dedicated Art Fund supporter and we thank him for all he is doing to raise awareness of our cause, bringing art of all kinds to museums and galleries across the UK.”
Stephen Deuchar, Director of the Art Fund.

On display from February 1 2011

Manchester Art Gallery’s two newest works will go on display on 1 February 2011 as the focus of our forthcoming exhibition Visual Dialogues: Grayson Perry which is being curated with assistance from a group of around 30 young people, known as the gallery’s Creative Consultants.

The display is part of Visual Dialogues, a partnership programme funded by Tate. Further details about the show will be announced soon.

Filter, Antony Gormley

Antony Gormley launches a new addition to our collections

On Tuesday 27 January, Antony Gormley - one of the UK’s leading contemporary artists - was at Manchester Art Gallery to launch the latest addition to our contemporary art collection.

We’re delighted to have been able to purchase a sculpture by the artist. Filter was created by Gormley in 2002. It’s a hanging figure made of flat mild steel rings welded together. The sculpture is hollow and holes in the rings allow you to glimpse inside the body, which contains a suspended heart.

During his visit, Gormley said “The work hangs in space as if in orbit, open to light and the elements, it is a meditation on the relationship between the core of the body and space at large”.

It’s now hanging over the stairs leading to the second floor of the gallery’s modern extension. Make sure you take a look, next time you visit.

With very big thanks

We couldn’t have purchased this work without assistance from the UK’s leading independent art charity, The Art Fund. They gave £80,000 to help us buy this work (which works out as £1 for each of their members). A gift from the Livingstone and Bloom Charitable Trusts also helped make this purchase possible.

Installation of Filter

Please note you will need to have Flash 8 or above installed on your computer. You can download the latest Flash player here.

See more of the installation on our flickr pages.

Listen to Antony Gormley's launch speech

Antony Gormley from Manchester Art Gallery on Vimeo.

The installation of Filter on flickr

Filter, Antony Gormley, detail
See more of the installation of Filter on our flickr pages.

Print shop

Sappho, Charles-August Mengin
Browse our range of high quality Giclee prints in our print store.