Grayson Perry – Julie Cope’s Grand Tour

Written on an arch, Julie Cope’s Grand Tour: The Story of a Life by Grayson Perry, gives the sense of entering a house, secret garden or place of habitation. Julie, according to the artist who created her, Grayson Perry, is the Essex everywoman. Someone whose ordinarity he wishes to celebrate.

Minute details within the tapestry give the story its weight

The exhibition at Dovecot Studios is the first time the Turner Prize-winning artist has exhibited in Scotland, bringing his art to the leading international tapestry studio.

Written onto tablets of stone, resembling Moses' Ten Commandments, is The Ballad of Julie Cope. Beside each one are tapestries, larger than ceiling height, resting at an angle on wooden pallets. Walking through the exibition we hear Perry's narrative 'The Ballad' as we observe the textiles.

These tapestries, all made on a digital jacquard loom, are imposing - three occupy an entire room. They are impressive and mesmerising pieces of work, originally designed for A House for Essex. Minute details within the tapestry give the story its weight. From the empry Fruit Pastilles packet to the cassette tapes scattered on top of a car bonnet, documenting every chapter in her life, from her husband's adultery to re-marrying and even her death.

The leads to a final room, and the last part of the story, which includes looms, sketches from other moments of Julie's life. It also includes a wunderkammer, or cabinet of curiosities, especially made for Dovecot by architect Charles Holland. Catalogued within are artifacts, such as figurines, sketches and a snowglobe, which does add that extra element of necessary detail.

As someone who both lived and worked in Essex, I know "Julie", and she comes in variations of Perry's fictional character. However, herein lies my one issue with the narrative - this is not Perry's story. I wonder why it's not "John Cope's Grand Tour". I keep wondering, would the real life Julie Cope have told this story differently? Also, in light of these pieces coming from the 'A House for Essex', I did expect to see the tapestries presented with the theatre that the architectural structure which Manningtree exudes.

Reviews by Sophia Charalambous

The Stand’s New Town Theatre

Carol Ann Duffy and John Sampson

★★★★★
White Stuff

Hand Weaving Workshop

★★★★
Underbelly, Bristo Square / Underbelly, Cowgate

Bismillah! An ISIS Tragicomedy

★★
The Jazz Bar

The Gil Scott-Heron Songbook

★★★★
Gilded Balloon Rose Theatre

Cat Hepburn: #GIRLHOOD

★★★★

Since you’re here…

… we have a small favour to ask. We don't want your money to support a hack's bar bill at Abattoir, but if you have a pound or two spare, we really encourage you to support a good cause. If this review has either helped you discover a gem or avoid a turkey, consider doing some good that will really make a difference.

You can donate to the charity of your choice, but if you're looking for inspiration, there are three charities we really like.

Mama Biashara
Kate Copstick’s charity, Mama Biashara, works with the poorest and most marginalised people in Kenya. They give grants to set up small, sustainable businesses that bring financial independence and security. That five quid you spend on a large glass of House White? They can save someone’s life with that. And the money for a pair of Air Jordans? Will take four women and their fifteen children away from a man who is raping them and into a new life with a moneymaking business for Mum and happiness for the kids.
Donate to Mama Biashara now

Theatre MAD
The Make A Difference Trust fights HIV & AIDS one stage at a time. Their UK and International grant-making strategy is based on five criteria that raise awareness, educate, and provide care and support for the most vulnerable in society. A host of fundraising events, including Bucket Collections, Late Night Cabarets, West End Eurovision, West End Bares and A West End Christmas continue to raise funds for projects both in the UK and Sub-Saharan Africa.
Donate to Theatre MAD now

Acting For Others
Acting for Others provides financial and emotional support to all theatre workers in times of need through the 14 member charities. During the COVID-19 crisis Acting for Others have raised over £600,000 to support theatre workers affected by the pandemic.
Donate to Acting For Others now

Performances

Location

The Blurb

British artist, Turner Prize winner (2003) and self-styled unapologetic fetishist, Grayson Perry explores the life of an ordinary woman through the extraordinary medium of tapestry in his first-ever exhibition in Scotland. Shown at Dovecot Studios, a world-renowned tapestry studio founded in 1912, this exhibition brings tapestry right to the centre of the contemporary art world and pop culture.

Most Popular See More

Come From Away

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Mamma Mia!

From £18.00

More Info

Find Tickets

The Book of Mormon

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets

The Lion King

From £36.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Anything Goes

From £42.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Tina - The Tina Turner Musical

From £12.00

More Info

Find Tickets