Jan 24 2014
Cross dressing artist Grayson Perry has been made a CBE by the Prince of Wales and wore his "Italian mother of the bride" outfit for the occasion.
The flamboyant transvestite potter, famed for his ceramic artwork depicting his darkest and most private feelings, said the award was recognition for "30 years of hard graft".
The Turner Prize-winning artist regularly appears dressed as his female alter-ego Claire and did not disappoint his fans when he travelled to Buckingham Palace for the investiture ceremony.
Perry wore a midnight blue dress and matching fitted jacket with a wide brimmed black-hat decorated with what looked like ostrich feathers.
Speaking after the ceremony he said: "Receiving this was great, it's not just for me it's for all the artists - no really it's just for me, for 30 years of hard graft."
Perry once described Claire as "a cross between Katie Boyle and Camilla Parker-Bowles" but when reminded of this he laughed and said: "This is my Italian mother of the bride outfit".
He added: "When I got the call (about the CBE) my first thought was what am I going to wear, it's a serious thing I'm not going to compromise my identity as Britain's pre-eminent transvestite. I googled to see what people wore and went for the sexier end.
"I always do like the older woman who makes an effort."
A Buckingham Palace spokeswoman said that Perry's "attire was entirely appropriate".
Perry is a married family man who spends hours meticulously making ceramic pots and is also a self-styled transvestite.
The vases, which are beautifully crafted and at a distance look like ornaments most people would love to own, are covered in words and sometimes graphic images depicting his own past or railing against society.
Born in 1960 in Chelmsford, he began his career at Braintree College of Further Education and then at Portsmouth Polytechnic, where he studied fine art.
Later when he moved to London in the early 1980s he began attending evening pottery classes and developed a strong connection with the medium.
He has said that he loves using clay because ''it is held in such low esteem in the art world''.
Perry won the Turner Prize in 2003 after being nominated for the piece Claire's Coming Out Dress and a collection of vases depicting the dark recesses of life.
The pots are covered with subject matter such as child abuse, autobiographical images of himself, Claire and his family, as well as examinations of cultural stereotypes.
He combines crudely-incised graffiti with drawing, slip painting, and the application of transfers, lustres and glazes to create an outer layer teeming with meaning.
Speaking at the palace, Perry said: "I'm grateful I'm not one of these people who has sky-rocketed to fame.
"Some people say I've become a member of the establishment but I've been that for years. I'm an RA (Royal Academician).
"The idea that rebellion is at the margins of society - that's false, it's far more interesting to be mischievous from the centre."
In recent years he has produced a set of six huge tapestries to accompany a Channel 4 series he presented on British taste.
Perry toured the country for the programmes and the first place he visited was Sunderland, producing two textile pieces based on places and characters he found in the city - The Adoration Of The Cage Fighters and The Agony In The Car Park.
The follow-up series will look at identity and will also see a range of artwork produced.