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 more than 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.

View the Tapestry

Opportunities to view the tapestry in situ are available by prior appointment.

We are pleased to announce viewings sessions are now available on the following dates:
Thursday 31st May at 2pm and 3pm.
Friday 22nd June at 9.30am and 1pm.

Please email to reserve your space: archivist@clothworkers.co.uk

Learn more about our support for textiles.

Book a tour of Clothworkers' Hall (1.5 hours) to learn more about the history of The Company and its Hall.

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