Grayson Perry: the Tomb of the Unknown Craftsman

'This is a memorial to the anonymous skilled individuals who have made all the things in the British Museum', says Turner Prize-winner artist Grayson Perry, who has spent two years behind the scenes, sifting through the collections in the British Museum's vaults and selecting around 170 objects for the exhibition.

The fruits of his search are displayed alongside his own most recent works, including the cast-iron 'coffin-ship' Tomb of the Unknown Craftsman. It will highlight an eclectic mix of craftsmanship whereby Polynesian fetishes rub shoulders with Buddhist sculptures, an Egyptian model sailing boat, and Hello Kitty pilgrim hand towels.You may have read about Grayson Perry's search for a stunt double on behalf of his childhood teddy bear Alan Measles. Perry searched high and low for three body doubles to give Alan a rest during the exhibition and the chosen stunt bears will sit for just over one month each in the teddy shrine on the back of his motorbike on display in the Museum's Great Court.Extended to 26 February (originally ending 19 February)

Venue details

British Museum Great Russell Street London WC1B 3DG 020 7323 8299

Entry details

50% off with the National Art Pass

(Standard entry £10, £5 with the National Art Pass)

Daily 10am – 5.30pm, open late Fridays

Telephone: 020 7323 8000

What the critics say


Perry's humour enriches the whole experience, coupled with his superb insights into the minds of unknown craftsmen stretching back a million years.


The best exhibition by a contemporary artist I've seen in years. Here is not just art but the reason why art is. Miss it at your peril.


The show is full of wonderful things. His own iron sculptures of male and female pilgrims (with their swag of sewing machines, mobile phone necklaces, boomboxes and babies) have an ethnographic look, and are a fitting sort of homeless pastiche. His reworking of a 16th-century Rhineland jug, with the original's oak leaves entwined with his riffs on second world war imagery, is a lively play on origins and history.