Grayson Perry - Evening & Day Editions London Wednesday, September 14, 2022 | Phillips
  • 'I was thinking what fun it would be to label everybody socially' —Grayson PerryGrayson Perry’s Print for a Politician is a depiction of war. Across the picture plane, rendered in vivid violet, smoke rises from burning buildings, trees are bare of leaves and tanks roll through the disjointed landscape. At over two and a half metres wide, the enormity of Perry’s etching recalls the monumental 19th century paintings of historic battles.


    C.J. Grant, The Tailors War! Being a New System of Cutting in the Trade!, c. 1834. Image: Chronicle / Alamy Stock Photo

    Yet rather than focusing on past disputes, Perry’s war is a satirical depiction of the various conflicting groups in contemporary society. Using war as a vehicle to visually convey societal tensions has long been an established device in political satire cartoons, demonstrated above in an illustration about the Tailors’ Strikes of the 1830s. Recalling such imagery, Perry labels the factions of contemporary society in a characteristically tongue-in-cheek fashion and thrusts them together to fight it out in the same arena. Although chaos appears to ensue in the non-linear narrative, Perry made it clear that his underlying intention was to demonstrate that all these differing parts of society can co-exist.  
    'I made a long list of all the different groups I could think of off the top of my head and scattered them randomly on the surface. There are minimalists, chauvinist pigs, elitists, parents, fat people, townies, locals, the old, Sunnis, Shias, fantasists, working class, thick people, satanists. Everything. It shows that we can live with this difference' —Grayson Perry

    Zhang Zeduan, Going Up the River at the Qingming Spring Festival (detail), c. 1100. Image: Werner Forman Archive / Heritage Image Partnership Ltd / Alamy Stock Photo

    Perry cited Henry Darger’s imaginary battle scenes as a key influence, along with the panoramic depictions of daily life and major cultural celebrations that can be found in Chinese Scroll paintings. Perry’s print merges these binary events to form an image that acknowledges tensions between distinct factions of society, but ultimately celebrates difference and promotes an ethos of co-existence and peace. Acknowledging the importance of such a message, the House of Commons acquired a version of Print for a Politician for their contemporary art collection in 2006. 



    • Provenance

      Acquired from the publisher by the present owner at the time of publication

    • Literature

      The Paragon Press 2001-2006 pp. 298-299

Property from a Private UK Collection


Print for a Politician (Violet)

Etching in violet from three plates, printed on one sheet of BFK Rives paper, with full margins.
framed 73.5 x 255.5 x 6.5 cm (28 7/8 x 100 5/8 x 2 1/2 in.)
Signed and titled in pencil on the front, lettered 'C' in pencil on the reverse, further lettered 'C' in black felt-tip pen on the reverse of the frame, from the edition of 7 lettered A-G (there was also 1 artist's proof), published by The Paragon Press, London, contained in the original artist's specified lime green wooden frame.

Full Cataloguing

£40,000 - 60,000 

Sold for £50,400

Contact Specialist

Rebecca Tooby-Desmond
Specialist, Head of Sale, Editions
T +44 207 318 4079
M +44 7502 417366

Robert Kennan
Head of Editions, Europe
T +44 207 318 4075
M +44 7824 994 784

Anne Schneider-Wilson
Senior International Specialist, Editions
T +44 207 318 4042
M +44 7760 864 748   

Evening & Day Editions

London Auction 14 - 15 September 2022