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 chart the 'class journey' made by young Tim Rakewell and include many of the characters, incidents and objects Grayson Perry encountered on his journeys and experiences throughout Sunderland, Tunbridge Wells and The Cotswolds for the television series 'All in the Best Possible Taste with Grayson Perry', which 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.

Arts Council Collection, Southbank Centre London and British Council. Gift of the artist and Victoria Miro Gallery with the support of Channel 4 Television, the Art Fund and Sfumato Foundation with additional support from AlixPartners.


Tour Dates and Venues

Wentworth Woodhouse, Rotherham

29 June 2023 - 3 September 2023

Lincoln Museum, Lincolnshire

23 September 2023 - 21 January 2023

The Lightbox, Woking

27 January 2024 - 7 July 2024

Pitzhanger Manor & Gallery, London

July 2024 - December 2024


The 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

Accompanying Publication

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.
Education Pack

Download the exhibition's accompanying education pack here. This pack is designed for use by teachers and other educators including gallery education staff. As well as providing background information about Grayson Perry and the creation of the tapestries
Google Art & Culture

Explore the Google Arts & Culture page for the exhibition; a rich online resource that uses the latest digital imaging tools and technologies to make cultural organisations more widely accessible to a global audience.

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.