The six tapestries tell a story of 21st century social mobility in the UK. In them we see Tim Rakewell; a man rising from a working class birth, making money, marrying into the middle classes, experiencing the crippling financial burdens of the upper classes, and finally dying an untimely death.
Perry’s tapestries make direct reference to the series of paintings called A Rake’s Progress by British artist William Hogarth (1697-1764), which hang in the Sir John Soane’s Museum in London. The eight paintings in Hogarth’s series tell the story of Tom Rakewell, a young man who inherits a fortune from his father and who goes on to squander his inheritance. Tom marries for money, gambles away his second fortune, is imprisoned for his debts and finally ends his life in the madhouse.
The tapestries also pay homage to early Renaissance painting, another favourite art form of Perry’s.