The Vanity of Small Differences by Grayson Perry

The Art Council Collection presents a new education information pack for Grayson Perry’s The Vanity of Small Differences, which can be downloaded below.


The Vanity of Small Differences is a series of six tapestries that came out of Grayson Perry making a documentary series with Channel 4 called All in the Best Possible Taste, first aired in June 2012. The series followed Perry’s travels around the UK as he investigated the aesthetic taste of those traditionally associated with the working, middle and upper classes. Perry’s particular interest was in the emotional attachment we make to objects and how we make judgements about personal and other people’s tastes often along class lines.


The photographs and drawings Perry made during and as a result of these investigations were compiled into a series of compositions that then were translated into the six tapestries. Inspired by William Hogarth's A Rake's Progress, The Vanity of Small Differences tells the story of young Tim Rakewell’s ‘class journey’ from humble birth to famous death. The dense designs contain direct references to art-historical paintings and many of the characters, incidents, and objects Perry encountered on his travels to Sunderland, Tunbridge Wells and The Cotswolds.


This pack is designed to be used by teachers, gallery education staff and other educators. In addition to providing background information on Grayson Perry and the creation of this series of artworks, the pack offers the opportunity to explore the tapestries through a number of themes, suggests ideas for educational projects and fun activities to be done in the galleries or at home.


Find out more about this touring exhibition.




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.