The Caged Bird's Song

image of tapestry

Designed by the Turner prize winning artist, Chris Ofili CBE, and hand woven by the internationally renowned Dovecot Tapestry Studio in Edinburgh, The Caged Bird's Song is a bold and vibrant triptych which draws on Ofili's ongoing interests in classical mythology and contemporary demi-gods, and is inspired by the stories, magic and colour of the Trinidadian landscape he inhabits.

The commission and, in particular, the choice of such a prominent artist to design the work, make a powerful statement about the Company's commitment to its root craft and desire to support endangered skills and nurture talent.

Dovecot is one of only two surviving tapestry studios in the UK, and it took a team of five master weavers over two and a half years to translate Ofili's watercolour design to the loom, interpreting, replicating and magnifying each and every colour and nuance with great skill and artistry. The three panels together measure some 7.8m wide by 2.8m high. The commission thus necessitated close collaboration between artist and maker(s), in what Ofili described as a ‘marriage of watercolour and weaving’. 

A National Gallery exhibition devoted to the work, Chris Ofili: Weaving Magic, runs until Monday 28 August in the Gallery’s Sunley Room, and entry is free of charge.

The Caged Bird’s Song will be permanently installed in the Livery Hall at Clothworkers’ Hall in September and opportunities to view the tapestry in situ will be offered to members of the public by appointment.  At present appointments are available on Friday 13th October, Friday 24th November, Friday 19th January 2018 and Friday 2nd March. For further details please contact archivist@clothworkers.co.uk

For further information about our textiles support please click here.

For details of full Hall Tours, please click here.


Image details: The Caged Bird's Song, 2014-2017
Wool, cotton and viscose
Courtesy Chris Ofili, Victoria Miro Gallery, The Clothworkers' Company and Dovecot Tapestry Studio, Edinburgh
Copyright Chris Ofili. Photography by Gautier Deblonde