Julie Cope's Grand Tour: The Story of a Life by Grayson Perry

The tapestries are the only pair in a public collection and had their first public showing at Collect: The International Art Fair for Contemporary Objects from 2 – 6 February at the Saatchi Gallery, London. The tapestries will be shown at New Brewery Arts as part of a national tour.

The Essex House Tapestries: the life of Julie Cope (2015) were made for ‘A House for Essex,’ designed by Grayson Perry and FAT Architecture, and well known through the Channel 4 programme ‘Grayson Perry’s Dream House.’ The house was conceived as a mausoleum to Julie Cope, a fictitious Essex ‘everywoman’, who was inspired by the people Perry grew up among.

The touring exhibition will consist of a diptych of the two tapestries, which tells Julie's story through Perry's recognisably vibrant and detail-orientated style. Alongside the tapestries will be a visualisation and specially commissioned audio recording of the Ballad of Julie Cope. The 3,000 word narrative, written and read by Perry himself, elaborates on the story of Julie’s life and is translatable to audiences across the country.

As the only chance to read and hear the ballad outside of the House for Essex, audiences will be able to explore ideas of regional identity, the effect of social history on the individual, and class mobility, through her journey.

Image: A Perfect Match, Grayson Perry, 2015. Crafts Council Collection: 2016.18. Purchase supported by Art Fund and a donation from Maylis and James Grand. Courtesy the Artist, Paragon Press, and Victoria Miro, London. © Grayson Perry