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 7.5m wide by 2.8m high. The commission thus necessitated close collaboration between artist and maker(s), in what Ofili has described as a ‘marriage of watercolour and weaving’. 

The Caged Bird’s Song has now been permanently installed in the Livery Hall at Clothworkers’ Hall following its first public exhibition as the focal point of the recent Chris Ofili: Weaving Magic show at The National Gallery in 2017.

Opportunities to view the tapestry in situ are available by prior appointment. All sessions for January - March 2018 are now full; however, spaces are available on our tapestry viewings scheduled for 9.30am and 1pm on Friday 20 April 2018.  

Please contact archivist@clothworkers.co.uk to reserve your space. 

For further information about our textiles support please click here.

For details of full Hall Tours of Clothworkers' Hall, please click here.

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