David Hockney
Queen 1961

Artwork details

David Hockney born 1937
Date 1961
Medium Etching and aquatint on paper
Dimensions Support: 410 x 330 mm
Acquisition Presented by Klaus Anschel in memory of his wife Gerty 1997
View this artwork by appointment, at Tate Britain's Prints and Drawings Rooms


Hockney's early graphic works, made while he was a student and shortly after he left the Royal College of Art in the first half of the 1960s, laid the foundations for all his subsequent work. The earliest of these works are full of iconographic and stylistic experiment and of autobiographical allusions that often refer obliquely to the artist's homosexuality. In such works, the artist alludes to the people he both admired and desired, often using initials or a simple number code to refer to them.

In the rare and possibly unique etching ECR, which dates from c.1960-2, Hockney juxtaposed the word 'Queen' with the initials 'CR', a reference to the pop singer Cliff Richard, whom he idolised at the time: 'I used to cut out photographs of him from newspapers and magazines and stick them up around my little cubicle in the Royal College of Art, partly because other people used to stick up girl pin-ups, and I thought, I'm not going to do that, can't do that, and here's something just as sexy' (Stangos, p.63). Richard was to feature as the subject of a number of Hockney's paintings of the period, for example Doll Boy, 1960-1 (private collection), where the singer is shown wearing a dress above the graphic inscription 'Queen'.

Further reading:
Nikos Stangos (ed.), David Hockney by David Hockney, London 1976, pp.63, 68

Terry Riggs
November 1997