In the Winter of 2019 I was asked to condition report a pottery plate by celebrated artist Grayson Perry which was in private ownership, prior to its loan for an exhibition at The Holburne Museum in Bath in 2020 titled ‘Grayson Perry - The Pre Therapy Years.’
This exhibition focused on his early works dating from between 1982 -1994 and many of these works had been sourced from private collections .
I was pleased for an excuse to have a day out of the workshop to visit a
lovely part of South Devon and willingly agreed.
It turns out that this plate was Grayson’s first experiment with pottery and he had added a coin into the centre to see how if would react in the kiln. He had obviously marked out the area that the molten metal would flow into , as it had contained itself to a shape that made up the dress the figure was wearing.
Although the plate is a departure from Grayson’s later works of art which are more detailed and colourful, inscribed with lots of social comment and very distinctive , this plate’s explicit title which is piped in clay along the border and the pose of the female figure within the centre of the plate is as challenging and playful as his later works.
The plate had been badly damaged in places, with an area on the rim that had chipped and had been poorly re-bonded and there were some losses of glaze in areas.
However , this does not deter from the importance of the piece as an example of Grayson’s early work and it was a privilege to be able to handle the plate and examine it in close detail.
Another bonus was that the owner turned out to be an artist of international acclaim and I examined the plate in her studio which had many examples of her work lying around. I felt that I had experienced two artists for the price of one that day!