Grayson Perry’s Who Are You?

The two most interesting things I took from this programme were:

  • your home often says more about you than you realise , and
  • that a portrait is a caricature of yourself, and emphasises some traits over others.

I was fascinated to see the homes of the various people he interviewed. They revealed a great deal about the subjects. Chris Huhne’s home was traditionally and beautifully furnished, but there was no sense in it of who he was. Subsequent interviews with him took place outside his home, making it appear that he didn’t feel comfortable revealing himself there. Jazz, the transgender sitter, was mainly shown outside his home in various social situations, and it was clear that his mother felt unhappy about his choices, meaning that he did not feel “at home” there. Perry said himself that the possessions we surround ourselves with are symbols for where we sit, culturally, and symbolise who we are. Each person’s possessions tell a story about them, which may or may not be what they show the outside world. (I am reminded of photos of, for example, the Camerons at home, and what could be gleaned from the bookshelves behind them. Did their image-makers decide what was in those shelves, or were they not considered until after the images went public and people started commenting. And how tidy is that room? Especially as the Camerons have three children.


Michelle Obama & Samantha Cameron at home

Below is an image of my work desk, taken 10 minutes ago. It could not be more different from the image shown above, but it is entirely realistic, and a fair representation of how my desk usually looks. I spend a considerable amount of time each day sitting at it, so there are all sorts of elements of myself there, should one care to look.


For an understanding of the pressure points in my significant relationship, and for fun, here is a picture of my husband’s desk at the other end of the same room. We both work from home. Enough said!



Grayson Perry: Who Are You? Episode 1 [television programme online] Pres. Perry. Channel 4 (2014) 48 mins. At: (Accessed on 20 May 2016)

6 thoughts on “Grayson Perry’s Who Are You?

  1. Catherine

    Interesting comparisons. I was just thinking that my office is very much more a representation of me than our living area which I think is the neutral zone.


  2. teresalanham

    Interesting – as an interior designer I can agree that you can tell an awful lot about a person from their home and the way they live in it. My own own home is definitely split between public formal areas and much more relaxed areas like my study. Having said that I think they are all me though as in the exterior and interior perhaps although that seems a bit simplistic.


    1. Holly Woodward Post author

      A good thought, Teresa. It’s amazing how few real homes we see on TV, i.e. ones that haven’t been staged for the camera. Gogglebox is the only one I can think of where people’s individual character shows through.


  3. Judy Bach

    Fascination post Holly. I’ve been looking around my home this morning , we de-cluttered a few years ago & my living room was (!) a fairly neutral space but gradually it is reflecting more of my personality as books & pictures are slowly being put back in by me ! Both my daughters are like me & their homes are similar but my son’s home is far more clinical , his behaviour verges on OCD & is very organised & tidy 🙂


  4. Pingback: My social media profile portrait | Holly's OCA I&P Blog

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