25th Apr, 2023 10:00

Modern and Contemporary Art

Lot 375


Sir Grayson Perry RA (b.1960)

Sir Grayson Perry CBE RA (b.1960)
'Alien Baby'
glazed ceramic, stamped and numbered to the reverse '10', from a series of 12, executed 2018
24 x 16cm

'Alien Baby' was created during Perry's time making the BAFTA-nominated 'Rites of Passage', a four-episode series exploring the topics of Death, Marriage, Birth and Coming of Age. Perry travelled the world exploring rituals across different cultures before returning home to England, to discuss his findings with British families, drawing parallels with seminal moments in their own lives and helping to devise secular rituals to help them make sense of the landmark moments they were experiencing.

He described witnessing the slow-motion modern miracle that sees the babies being nurtured into the world by the dedicated team of nurses who help them survive and thrive against all odds. He sees the nurses as the crew of a spaceship, employing modern technology with a sympathetic touch, the twinkling lights of the monitors reminiscent of the light-up controls of the flight deck of a spaceship.

‘It feels otherworldly like we are on board a spaceship drifting through inner space on our way to the time when they [the babies] should have come’.

Inspired by this cosmic scene and believing there to be a need for the NHS to be ritualised as one of the pillars of modern society, Grayson produced a range of twelve 'Alien Babies', each a celebration of the NHS, the technology and, above all, the humanity of the neonatal nurses. The works, each unique and executed in pottery with a metallic gilt glaze, were gifted by the artist to every member of the neonatal team at the Broomfield.

Provenance: The work was given by the artist to the vendor, who was a Ward Administrator during the time of filming, and featured in episode three of the series.

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Sold for £4,000

Condition Report

Crazing and minor losses to the glaze with some discolouration. There are indentations from the kiln stand on the back.



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Auction: Modern and Contemporary Art, 25th Apr, 2023



A selection of lots will be on view 25 March - 13 April (closed 7-10 April) at our London Gallery, 15 Cecil Court, London WC2N 4EZ, as follows:

Mon-Fri, 11am - 5.30pm 

Sat, 1pm - 5pm

Sun - Closed

For more information, please contact 0203 971 2500 | london@sworder.co.uk 



Viewing will be held at our Stansted Auction Rooms, Cambridge Road, Stansted Mountfitchet CM24 8GE, as follows: 

Fri 21 April, 10am - 5pm

Sun 23 April, 10am - 1pm 

Mon 24 April, 10am - 5pm 

All lots are, however, extensively illustrated and carry detailed condition reports - see 'Condition report' at the foot of each lot description. 

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