March 17th, 2011

An English Tradition

The police museum took up the latter half of the morning. We had lunch in an Asian cafe in the Northern Quarter and spent the afternoon in the City Art gallery.

Manchester has just treated itself to a couple of Grayson Perrys- a big pot and a big print. I like how bonkers Perry is. I like the combination of bonkerishness and craft.  The print is inspired by Chinese scrolls and depicts a woeful fantasy landscape full of hundreds of tiny warring figures.  If you don't linger over it- taking it in detail by detail-  you're going to miss out on most of the fun. Afterwards I went and spent some time with Ford Madox Brown's Work (arguably the most famous picture in the collection) and saw it had exactly the same qualities of crowdedness and grotesquerie.   I think there's an English tradition of densely populated art. It begins with Hogarth and comes up to date with Perry - and in between come Frith and Dadd and Brown and the cartoonists Bateman, Heath-Robinson and Giles.