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Grayson Perry: Portrait Of The Artist As A Young Girl [Paperback]

Grayson Perry , Wendy Jones
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)
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Book Description

4 Jan 2007

Every inch of Grayson's childhood bedroom was covered with pictures of aeroplanes, and every surface with models. Fantasy took over his life, in a world of battles ruled by his teddy bear, Alan Measles. He grew up. And in 2003, an acclaimed ceramic artist, he accepted the Turner Prize as his alter-ego Clare, wearing his best dress, with a bow in his hair.

Now he tells his own story, his voice beautifully caught by his friend, the writer Wendy Jones. Early childhood in Chelmsford, Essex is a rural Eden that ends abruptly with the arrival of his stepfather, leading to constant swerving between his parents' houses, and between boys' and women's clothes. But as Grayson enters art college and discovers the world of London squats and New Romanticism, he starts to find himself. At last he steps out as a potter and transvestite.

Frequently Bought Together

Grayson Perry: Portrait Of The Artist As A Young Girl + Grayson Perry: The Vanity of Small Differences + Grayson Perry and the Tomb of the Unknown Craftsman [DVD] - as seen on the BBC
Price For All Three: 36.92

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Product details

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage; New Ed edition (4 Jan 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099485168
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099485162
  • Product Dimensions: 13.2 x 19.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 7,914 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


"The most remarkable aspect of Grayson Perry's biography is the resilience of the human spirit to which it testifies... There are lovely moments in this book and what really comes across is what a lovely man Grayson Perry is" (Literary Review)

"Gripping and splinter-sharp account of the Turner prize-winning potter's early life and artistic growth" (Sunday Times)

"[A] delightful autobiography... this short charming book ought to be required reading for anyone with artistic ambitions. For everyone else, it can be enjoyed simply as one of those heartwarming tales of happiness and success wrested from the jaws of potential disaster" (Mail on Sunday)

"One of the most gripping and intelligent accounts of an artist's growth I have ever read" (John Carey Sunday Times)

"Charming... oddly reminiscent of Nigel Slater's recent book, Toast" (Saturday Herald)

Book Description

Intimate, funny, unsettling autobiography by one of Britain's most talented and provocative artists, written in his own voice by a close friend. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Alan Measles for God 18 Aug 2010
By mouse
Not only is this a fantastic insight into Grayson's development as an artist - it is a fascinating study of transvestism and play. The details about Alan Measles, and his complicated imaginary world will strike a chord with a lot of people, as well as allowing the reader to better interpret some of his work. Very good indeed, shame it wasn't 4 times the length.
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Charming portrait 23 Feb 2006
After being an admirer of Perry's work for the last couple of years I was interested to read more about the man behind the pots (and dresses). Coming soon after reading Tracey Emin's revelatory writing I was prepared for an artist's life laid bare. I found this book to be tender, funny, enlightening and frank. For me there wasn't quite enough on his art but there was an awful lot on his motivation for concentration on the subject matter of his work. I look forward to the sequel that will bring me up to date with how he got from there to here!
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Encapsulates the man and his art wonderfully 8 Sep 2008
By Mrs. K. A. Wheatley TOP 500 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I had the great good fortune to go and see Perry being interviewed by Lars Tharp last year and was completely hooked. He is erudite, witty, intensely amusing and absolutely fascinating when he talks about artists and the idea of craftsmanship and tradition. His pots are wonderful and he, as their creator, never disappoints.

I stumbled across this book and ordered it, hoping that it would not be as dry as dust. It too, doesn't disappoint. Wendy Jones, the author, has had the great good sense and dignity to allow Grayson's voice free rein. The book is basically written as transcripts from tapes where Jones asked Perry questions and then must have just let him go. His mannerisms, voice, ideas and personality are all over this book writ large and it is all the better for it.

The book deals with what in Perry's eyes made him into the artist he is today. It stops the narrative with his first proper pot/show at the age of 22. Despite this, there are clear markers to the person he is today and the book, for a regular priced paper back has a lot of excellent black and white and colour photographs, both of Perry and his work. In fact I've seen art tomes which cost three times more with worse illustrative plates. This is spectacular value for money and a really fascinating read.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly recommend 22 Jun 2012
By Richard
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Anyone with an interest to Grayson Perry's art will enjoy this short biography. It's an interesting read and I found myself hardly able to put it down. Full of tragic, funny and exciting anecdotes. I've been reading this and a Biography of Hogarth and the parallels are astonishing, not just between the two artists, but between society in both their lives and even today.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars lovely 11 Jan 2009
By Nick
A really gripping and thoughtful book. It has such a strong sense of his voice in it.
i would sit there and listen to him for hours! his anecdotes are so humanistic, sometimes funny, and alot of british eccentricity

plus i was born in the same hospital. woop!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book 17 May 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This was an interesting read and Perry's life is fascinationg. Not only his alto ego Clare but his entire teen years and back story are also fascinating. Looking forward to read an updated version one day
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Grayson Perry positive review 18 Mar 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I was very happy with everything involved in my purchase, and the Perry book is wonderfully written; Grayson Perry is Amazing
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Easy read 19 Nov 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Good easy read. An insight into his life style and why he needs to cross dress and what it means to him.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Good quality
Very well written but ends most abruptly. Good quality illustrations
Published 14 days ago by avril muirhead
5.0 out of 5 stars Great read..want to read more.
Interesting character and this gives a great insight to his childhood and early art school days. Only issue with kindle version is hard to view the photos but I could see them well... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Leza H
4.0 out of 5 stars Great little book you will want to know more
I hope she's going to write a follow up as you are definitely left wanting more when you reach the end. Read more
Published 3 months ago by ian mclaren
4.0 out of 5 stars Not a whole portrait
This is an interesting book in so far as it goes, that is to just after he finishes art school. Would have liked it to be more up to date. Worth a read though. Read more
Published 6 months ago by H. Maguire
2.0 out of 5 stars Grayson's realism
Found it a little incredible in places re. his family and step-parent. I think I was expecting more insights into the Grayson the artist.
Published 6 months ago by William Roger Hancock
3.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing
I'm a huge fane of Grayson Perry so was very disappointed to see how poorly written this book is. He has a colourful nd engaging story to tell but unfortunately it doesn't flow and... Read more
Published 8 months ago by J. Thompson
3.0 out of 5 stars Doesn't live up to the Sunday Times tag line 'One of the most gripping...
I have huge admiration and respect for Grayson Perry - but...

Whilst this book gives the basic facts about his early life - the manner in which it does so it very dry... Read more
Published 8 months ago by Cath Taylor
4.0 out of 5 stars Charming & engaging just like the man
I like Grayson Perry. I like this book, too. He seems a very grounded individual. I hope there's a sequel, written when he's a grand old man who dresses as Claire all the time,... Read more
Published 8 months ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Bloody good read
This book is an insight into a world I knew nothing about, and Im glad I took the time to read about this very interesting man. Best book I've read this year by far. Read more
Published 12 months ago by christopher tutte
3.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating story / competent but uninspiring writing.
The story of Perry's life is a fascinating one- a hard childhood, a raucous student life and a constant searching for love and a sense of self. Read more
Published 15 months ago by C. Morton
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