I found the stark reality of ‘The Ballad of Julie Cope’ very poignant.
To have the tale of a ‘fictional every-woman’ told via such large, beautiful tapestries is very powerful. With Grayson Perry’s narration of the folklore style ballad filling the gallery, you can’t help but absorb Julie’s story.
Of course, the descriptions of some of the ceremonial events in her life caught my celebrant attention. Short paragraphs highlight contrasting wedding ceremonies decades apart and the longer tale of Julie’s funeral is poetic and moving.
I won’t reveal too much here, go to see the exhibition in Edinburgh if you can. http://dovecotstudios.com
What I will share, because I found this part of the tale magical, is the touching moment when grieving Rob ‘knows what he has to do’. Inspired by his recollections of their trip to India where they marvelled at the Taj Mahal and the love story behind the mausoleums creation, Rob decides to build a secular chapel in Julie’s memory.
And reader, the chapel does exist, it is Perry’s ‘House for Essex’, where ‘The Ballad of Julie Cope’ tapestries are housed. This is a project built as a memorial, inspired by pilgrimage chapels and shrines. A fictional chapel built for a fictional character underpinned by a narrative of love.