Grayson Perry – an unusual man with an unusual view of the world


Today I spent 4 or 5 hours in the British Museum.  It was wonderful.  There’s something there for everyone.  I have to admit to behaving today a bit like an accountant & a person who without fail always counts their lengths when swimming.  I grabbed the brochure entitled “A History of the World in 100 Objects”, picked out the 20 that interested me the most & then mapped out a route to view them.  I did my “objet” viewing on either side of the main reason for my trip – Grayson Perry’s exhibition “The Tomb of the Unknown Craftsman”.  All I can say is it’s on until 26 Feb (extension by popular demand) & if you haven’t seen it yet, you need to get down there, pay your tenner and consume this visual feast.

I know there’s been a lot already written about this exhibition, and photos were not permitted, so I’m going to keep this short.  It’s a mix of artefacts from the British museum which the artist has selected & then sometimes juxtaposed next to his own work (10 or so of his famous ceramic pots including one featuring Mark E Smith of The Fall entitled “Grumpy Old God pot”, iron sculptures of people, a coffin containing his ponytail from 25 years ago, needlework and huge tapestries, a tower he built out of stones he found on the road outside his squat in 1983, outrageous costumes he’s created & then worn, and of course his famous motorcycle – there in my photo, complete with Alan Measles riding at the back in his box).

What I liked most of all was some of the stuff Grayson had written here & there.  These are my favourites:

·         Reality can be new as well as old, poetic as well as factual and funny as well as grim;

·         Next to a selection of exquisite tiny portable lacquered Japanese shrines from the 1700s he tells us that the modern day equivalent of a portable shrine is the photo album we all carry about on our smartphones – I love that

·         The suggestion that CCTV is the modern version of carvings over cathedral doors depicting the Last Judgement & the damned going to hell – hahaha

Beautiful, just beautiful.  Don’t miss out.  Post up your comments if you’ve been along & enjoyed it as much as I did.  I look forward to reading them.


  1. My favourite comment in the exhibition is the one that says everything in the whole of the British Museum was contemporary once! Really made me think!


  2. The British Museum is just wonderful and Grayson Perry fascinating. I love the style of Alan Measles’ box on the back of Perry’s bike – part fairytale gingerbread house, part roadside shrine. The History of the World in 100 objects is a great project, I thought the Radio 4 serialisation was fantastic – I didn’t realise there was an exhibition too so will be getting myself along to that asap.


  3. Visiting the show was one of my 2011 highlights. Your post has brought back lots of happy memoires. We don’t value our craftsmen enough in the UK.


  4. The BBC podcasts of ‘The History of the World in 100 Objects’ are still available to download (in entirety) from I thoroughly enjoyed the series as it was broadcast last year and strongly recommend that you download at least those podcasts of the objects that were on your hit list of must-sees at the British Museum. I wonder if you’ve noticed … it seems as if your blog posts aren’t being date stamped. It isn’t obvious to me when your individual posts first appeared. This one, for example, might have been yesterday, last week or even last year. Unless I’m missing something which is entirely possible!


  5. Thanks everyone for your comments. Yes – I found the Radio 4 podcasts last night & listened to a few of those Kelly & John.Yeah John – the date stamps are a funny thing. I can see they tell me how many days ago something was posted but nothing more than that. I’ve tried a few of the Posterous templates & settled on this one – but perhaps I’ll try & find another. Not completely happy with this one.


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