Commissioned by the British Library – and based on a painting of the same name – the tapestry If Not, Not was woven from 1996-1997 and is the largest tapestry ever made at Dovecot. It took seven weavers to complete the tapestry, which ultimately weighed 113kg.
Born in Cleveland, Ohio, Kitaj settled in Britain in 1957. He had previously studied at art schools in New York and Vienna and, after serving with the army in Germany, came to England on a G.I. Scholarship to study in Oxford and at the Royal College of Art, London. At a time when abstract art was prevalent, Kitaj worked figuratively, developing a personal artistic language derived from pictorial and literary sources. He became associated with the loose grouping of artists called the ‘School of London’, who were concerned with the human form.