Grayson Perry: Visual Dialogues

 Grayson Perry: Visual DialoguesGrayson Perry, Jane Austen in E17 (2009), detailGrayson Perry, Jane Austen in E17 (2009)


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.