Summary

This etching of Celia Birtwell is typical of the fine and tender portraits with which Hockney has celebrated his close friendship with the designer over the years. Celia first met Hockney in Los Angeles in 1964. She is most famously represented in Hockney's large double portrait Mr and Mrs Clark and Percy, 1970-1 (Tate Gallery T01269). With her husband Ossie Clark she was at the top of the fashion industry in London in the 'Swinging Sixties'. Clark designed clothes using Birtwell's textile designs, and sold them from the shop Quorum in Chelsea's King's Road.

This, and another etching of the same year, Peter, marked the beginning of Hockney's work in full-length figure studies. He followed these with a series of lithographs of Celia begun in 1973.

Further reading:
Marco Livingstone, David Hockney: Etchings and Lithographs, exhibition catalogue, Waddington Graphics, London 1988, [p.12], reproduced pl.12
David Hockney: A Retrospective, exhibition catalogue, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles 1988

Terry Riggs
November 1997