British Museum blog

Stunt double trouble

Janet Larkin, Curator of the Enlightenment Gallery

I’ve had an exciting time these last few months managing the installation of the objects for Grayson Perry’s exhibition. As part of this, I have also been tasked with changing the stunt double teddy bears on the back of Grayson motorbike, which you can see on display just outside the exhibition entrance. I usually work in the Department of Coins and Medals and look after the Enlightenment Gallery, and so getting up close to this fantastic motorbike is a real change for me!

Hundreds of bears entered their CVs and photos for Grayson Perry’s competition to find a stunt double for Alan Measles, who is of course Grayson’s teddy bear and ‘god of his imaginary world’. Grayson shortlisted the candidates to find his top 12 and then the public voted for their three favourites. The final three reminded us of The Story of the Three Bears, there was “a Little, Small, Wee Bear” called Dr Schmoo, “a Middle-sized Bear” called Pinny, and “a Great, Huge Bear” called John Duggan.

Last week, early one morning before the Museum opened to the public, we tried John Duggan out for size by placing him in the shrine on the back of Grayson’s motorbike. Dressed up in his leathers and wearing a fantastically ornate eye patch, he really looked the part. However, John was slightly too tall for the shrine and so, very sadly, he won’t be able to take up his place as the stand-in for Alan Measles after all.

This is incredibly disappointing for John Duggan of course. He had so wanted to sit in the shrine and for all to come and see him. However, we know that he will take comfort in knowing that he has been an internet star with thousands of votes. He now even has his own Facebook page, so do go and make friends with him! He will certainly go on to have many more adventures I’m sure. Whilst he was here, and in true stunt teddy bear spirit, he did try out a few poses on the motorbike which we caught on camera and which he wanted you to see…

John Duggan prepares for a ride on Grayson Perry's motorbike

Displaying his fine balancing skills on the handlebars

Enjoying the scenery

Posing like a true stunt double

And so, we now need a stand-in for the stand-in! The next bear on the shortlist from the final stages of the competition will be contacted and asked to take John Duggan’s place. Keep an eye out (not literally, like John Duggan) on Twitter for the announcement of who that lucky bear will be.

You may have seen Pinny and Alan Measles on Harry Hill’s TV Burp. Pinny is thrilled to have been on television. Have you seen Pinny or Dr Schmoo on display yet? Dr Schmoo is proudly wearing his Grayson Perry badge, and I’ve even found him a cushion so that he can sit on that big throne much more comfortably.

Find out more about the Grayson Perry Late event.

Grayson Perry: The Tomb of the Unknown Craftsman
is supported by AlixPartners, with Louis Vuitton.
Book tickets now

Filed under: Exhibitions, Grayson Perry: The Tomb of the Unknown Craftsman

One Response - Comments are closed.

  1. Archie says:

    Just returned from the British Museum today. I specifically went to see Grayson’s exhibition. Both my wife and I were bowled over by his huge talent. The exhibition was really well put together, showing how he was influenced by the other pieces of work on display. It was a treat and a perfect day.

    The museum hold such a vast array of pieces that I’ll never be able to have enough time in m y life to see everything. Well done.


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You can now discover thousands of British Museum objects in partnership with @googleartproject at We’ve asked staff members to highlight their favourites and explain what makes them special. Chris Spring, Curator of Africa Collections, describes why he finds the ‘Throne of weapons’ so powerful. ‘This war memorial celebrates the ordinary people of Mozambique, many of them unarmed, who stood up to a culture of violence. It represents both a human tragedy and a human triumph. The Throne's essential humanity is suggested right away by its anthropomorphic qualities - it has arms, legs, a back and most importantly a face - actually two faces. My first reaction was that these faces are crying in pain, though they could also be seen as smiling faces finally freed from conflict. These anthropomorphic qualities also link it immediately to the arts of Africa, in which non-figurative objects such as chairs, stools, weapons, pots etc are seen as - and described as - human beings. The Throne has toured the world, taking its message of peace to schools, churches, shopping centres and even prisons – and of course, to museums and galleries.’ #MuseumOfTheWorld We’re celebrating our partnership with @googleartproject, and have asked curators to tell us about their favourite objects. Hugo Chapman, Keeper of Prints and Drawings, explains why he chose this chalk drawing by Michelangelo. ‘One of the things I love about drawings is the way they sometimes allow a glimpse into the private, behind the scenes world of an artist, one unseen in finished works in paint or stone. An example of that is a red chalk drawing by Michelangelo of grotesque heads in red chalk that reveal that the Florentine Renaissance artist had a lively, if caustic, sense of humour. The three heads were probably drawn to amuse but at the same instruct his pupils, as the three studies show how slight changes can radically alter the reading of an image with the character and mood of each figure (paranoid anxiety; vacuous joy; and depressive gloom) signalled by the position and erectness of their donkey-like ears.  I wish my ears were as expressive.’ Discover many more incredible works of art in the Google Cultural Institute at

#Michelangelo #art To celebrate our partnership with @googleartproject, we’ve asked members of British Museum staff to highlight their favourite objects and explain what makes them special. Jill Cook, Deputy Keeper of Britain, Europe & Prehistory, chose this stone chopping tool from an early human campsite in Olduvai Gorge, Tanzania. ‘Holding this 2 million year old African tool in my hand I am reminded that whatever differences exist between people now, we are united by our common origin in Africa. The discovery of this piece by Louis Leakey in 1931 began to change our understanding of what makes us human. It illustrates the beginning of a transition from an ancestral ape that walked upright on two legs within the confines of a limited ecological niche to humans with more complex brains capable of changing and eventually dominating the world around us by making tools and weapons. This chopping tool is one of the seeds from which all human cultures and societies have grown.’ Discover the stories of thousands of objects in the Google Cultural Institute at

#MuseumOfTheWorld In Victorian England many people were fascinated by their past, and the ancient tribal leader Caratacus (also spelt Caractacus) was adopted as a symbol of national pride and independence. Like Boudica, Caratacus resisted the Roman invasion of Britain. Although he was eventually defeated, he earned a reputation as a noble and worthy foe. The Victorian sculptor J H Foley portrays him here standing triumphant, the embodiment of courageous English spirit. See this incredible #Movember moustache in our #Celts exhibition, until 31 January 2016.
J H Foley (1818–1874), Caractacus. Marble, 1856–1859. On loan from Guildhall Art Gallery/Mansion House, City of London. Some more #Movember inspiration! Here’s the Museum’s security team from 1902 photographed on the front steps. They include officers from the Metropolitan Police, and the London Fire Brigade (identified by their flat caps). We’re celebrating #Movember with Museum moustaches great and small. Here’s a #Movember fact: Peter the Great of Russia introduced a beard tax in 1698 and this token was given as proof of payment!

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