Wednesday, August 01, 2018

The Great Grayson Perry Lost Works Treasure Hunt

Have you got one of Grayson Perry's early pots? Will Grayson Perry become the ceramic equivalent of Clarice Cliff?

Whenever I switch on the television and there's an antiques type programme on, somebody seems to have just found a bit of Clarice Cliff in the attic or had it sat on a shelf forever.

Apparently the same might be said for early works by Grayson Perry - who was none too meticulous about making a note about the creation of his earlier works or where they went.

Crowdsourcing a Grayson Perry exhibition

Biker Pot, 1992, Grayson Perry (c) Grayson Perry,
Courtesy the artist and Victoria Miro, London & Venice

The Holbourne Museum in Bath has an exhibition planned for 2020 that is intended to focus on the early ceramic works of Grayson Perry from the eighties and early nineties .

Grayson Perry, 2016 (c) Richard Ansett

However there's a bit of a problem - as Grayson Perry explains

“When I started out making ceramics at evening classes, part of the reason I enjoyed it was that I could make artworks relatively quickly. In my first decade of exhibiting I would often show over sixty or seventy works, made over the course of a few months. I sold these works for modest sums and often gave away what was left. I was terrible at admin and photography so kept very little record of these early pieces. Most of these works were exhibited in London, though I also had shows in this period in Paris, New York and San Antonio, Texas.” 
Grayson Perry
Hence the Holbourne Museum wants to track down Grayson Perry ceramics so it can shine a light on Perry’s experimentation in ceramics and exploration of the medium’s potential.

Cocktail Party, 1989, Grayson Perry (c) Grayson Perry,
Courtesy the artist and Victoria Miro, London & Venice
Today it created a Call Out for Grayson Perry Early Works and would like to hear from you!
"This is a really exciting project, to try and reunite a wide range of Perry’s early works by getting the public involved in a global Grayson Perry treasure hunt! We already have works from Perry’s own collection and others promised for the exhibition – but we know there are lots more out there, so we are asking anyone who can help to get in touch with us. We are all looking forward to some exciting discoveries.”  
Holburne curator Catrin Jones
I'm a big fan of the pots so was keen to make a contribution

However, I started to wonder how they would know if a work was authentic if Perry didn't keep photographs or proper records of his work. Apparently there is a way of checking if a work is a genuine Grayson Perry
“Every single one of Perry’s ceramics has a potter’s mark, in fact there are 39 individual ones he used between 1983 and 1994, so we will be able to quickly check if a work is authentic.” 
Holburne curator Catrin Jones
If you have a 1980s or early 1990s Grayson Perry pot or plate that could be considered for inclusion in an exhibition in 2020 then the Holburne in Bath would like to hear from you. 

Please contact the Museum via email at and title your email ‘Grayson Perry Lost Works.’ or maybe retweet this tweet

In the meantime Grayson is doing his bit....
My record keeping hasn’t improved much: I recently moved house and found five pots in the loft which had been unseen since the eighties and a dozen plates from the early nineties in a cupboard under a sink!” 
Grayson Perry
Here's one he created later...

Modern Family - seen in "Who are you?
at the National Portrait Gallery

This is a blogpost showing (maybe) images of some of his earlier works Sex and drugs and earthenware; Grayson Perry at the Turner Contemporary.

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