Grayson Perry: The Vanity of Small Differences

Grayson Perry's The Vanity of Small Differences tells the story of class mobility and the influence social class has on our aesthetic taste. Inspired by William Hogarth's A Rake's Progress the six tapestries, measuring 2m x 4m each, chart the 'class journey' made by young Tim Rakewell and include many of the characters, incidents and objects Grayson Perry encountered on journeys through Sunderland, Tunbridge Wells and The Cotswolds for the television series 'All in the Best Possible Taste with Grayson Perry'.

The television programmes were first aired on Channel 4 in June 2012. In the series Perry goes on 'a safari amongst the taste tribes of Britain', to gather inspiration for his artwork, literally weaving the characters he meets into a narrative, with an attention to the minutiae of contemporary taste every bit as acute as that in Hogarth's 18th century paintings.

Grayson Perry is a great chronicler of contemporary life, drawing us in with wit, affecting sentiment and nostalgia as well as, at times, fear and anger. In his work, Perry tackles subjects that are universally human: identity, gender, social status, sexuality, religion. Autobiographical references – to the artist’s childhood, his family and his transvestism – can be read in tandem with questions about décor and decorum, class and taste, and the status of the artist versus that of the artisan.


Grayson Perry: The Vanity of Small Differences is at Wentworth Woodhouse 29 June 2023 - 3 September 2023


The Touring Exhibition is accompanied by a new educational film, introduced by th former Arts Council Collection Curator, Beth Hughes, and features commentary from the artist, Grayson Perry. The video will be presented alongside the exhibition and can be viewed below.



Build Your Own Sculptures

Arts Council Collection: Grayson Perry: The Vanity of Small Differences

Build and design sculptures inspired by Grayson Perry's tapestries in your own learning environment!

To accompany the 2020-21 tour of Grayson Perry's The Vanity of Small Differences, graphic designer, Alex Josephine Gwynne, has created a series of fun 3D paper sculptures for you to download and make.

Inspired by characters from Perry’s series of tapestries, each model is available as a full colour template. We suggest printing them at A4 or A3 on white paper or thin card about 160gsm.

Download the templates

Related Content


Featuring essays by journalist Suzanne Moore and Grayson Perry, alongside extensive commentary on each of the tapestries and their making, this book is an essential companion to one of the key contemporary art works of the last decade.
Google Art & Culture

Explore the tapestries in extreme detail via Google Arts & Culture; a rich online resource that uses the latest digital imaging tools and technologies to make cultural organisations more widely accessible to a global audience.
Education Pack

Learn more about Grayson Perry and the creation of the tapestries in this education pack full of project ideas and activities.

The Arts Council Collection is the UK's most widely seen collection of modern and contemporary art.

With more than 8,000 works by over 2,000 artists, it can be seen in exhibitions and public displays across the country and beyond. This website offers unprecedented access to the Collection, and information about each work can be found on this site.