Grayson Perry and the Canvey Connection

All the way from the Netherlands

The House for Essex

Our friend, Nellie Verton, in the Netherlands went to the museum in Maastricht and saw the very large exhibition of the works of Grayson Perry. She was amazed to see this tapestry depicting the floods of 1953. She read that Grayson was born in Chelmsford. No sooner home than she was sending copies of her photos to us to see if we had heard of him.

Well yes we had, particularly of the house he built in Wrabness. (see picture right) Which I am sure most of you will have seen on the news.

The ‘House for Essex’ in Wrabness, was inspired by the fictional woman, Julie. According to Grayson’s story she was born on Canvey in 1953, the year of the floods. She goes on to marry a refinery worker with whom she had two children. She later remarried and after her death the man called Rob, commissioned this ornate house in her memory.

This tapestry, ‘The Perfect Match’, seems to be telling part of her story.

Although we do not know what connection Grayson has with Canvey we have been told he has/had family here. Perhaps that is why Canvey is such a big part of this story.


Comments about this page

  • I saw the documentary made about Greyson Perry’s Julie and her ascension from Canvey to Wrabness in Essex. l much admire the artist and sculpter and his work but I must admit to a wry smile at this latest venture. Why only allow Julie to aspire to Wrabness why not Clerkenwell EC1 where Greyson lives. It was at the turn of the century that Canvey’s population started to increase dramatically and where did many of the new inhabitants come from but London. My own Great Grandfather can be found in Fullham in 1881 now only a few minutes walk from the Hurlingham club, his then house has an eye watering price tag. He was a humble postman, how times change. In 1909 he had a house built in Liropin Avenue by a well known Canvey builder of the time, Mr Wainwright and thought he had found Paradise glad to leave the old smoke behind. I still see the Beauty of the Island in the words written by my Grandma Doris Manly and the many old photos, both on this site. I don’t think Greyson was being depreciating about Julie but there is a definite irony.

    By Jane Parkin (07/04/2016)

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