top of page

A Homage to Sir David Hockney

When I started making photographic re-imaginings of famous works of art, I really did not intend to make so many. I've now made well over 50. One of my latest ones, a re-make of a famous double portrait by Sir David Hockney, is now hanging in the Royal West of England Academy in Bristol. Amazingly it shares a room with (inter alia) two watercolours by our new King, Charles III.

David Hockney's portrait of Ossie Clark with his then Wife, designer Celia Birtwell, caused a sensation when it was first painted and acquired by TATE Britain in 1972. I was a teenager then and remember it well. My schoolfriends and I thought it was the epitome of cool. We all wanted to be like Celia and to meet men like Ossie (well that is what we thought at the time, we might think differently now...). The lighting in the painting was extraordinary. We knew we were in the presence of great art, on a par with double portraits by Van Eyck and Gainsborough. The only unsatisfactory thing for us was the little white cat (called Percy for the painting) - he was looking out of the window rather than engaging with the viewer.

Well, we all know what lockdown was like. We didn't out enough. We took in rescue pets. Our minds went into fantasy mode. So one afternoon in May I bought a pot of lilies reduced in Morrisons, re-arranged our bedroom, set up some reflectors and called my husband (Des Maxwell Clark) and the new (to us) huge tabby cat, Alfred. I dug out a very old dress and cardigan dating from my youth, and shot the picture, using a ten second shutter delay. Shooting into a bright window is not easy, but I got it to work and to replicate the effect Hockney captured in his painting. His was called Mr and Mrs Clark and Percy. Because our married name genuinely is Clark, mine is called Dr and Mrs Clark and Alfred.

I have already had several of my pictures displayed in the Royal Academy in London, but the Royal West of England is notoriously difficult to get into, so I was thrilled to be selected. It's a fabulous venue - easily reached by train to Temple Meads and a short ride on the number 8 bus. I would also recommend visiting TATE Britain. The original is a remarkable painting that set Hockney out on the path of becoming a household name and recognised genius. The exhibition in Bristol is on until 8 January



Related Works

bottom of page