David Hockney

Study for ‘Mr and Mrs Clark and Percy’

1970

Medium
Graphite on paper
Dimensions
Support: 429 x 356 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Presented by the artist 1972
Reference
T01515

Summary

This is one of numerous studies Hockney made for his double portrait Mr and Mrs Clark and Percy, 1970-1 (Tate Gallery T01269). The husband and wife fashion designers Ossie Clark and Celia Birtwell were at the top of the fashion industry in London in the 'Swinging Sixties', when London's reputation as the fashion capital of the world was at its height. Clark designed clothes using Birtwell's textile designs, and sold them from the shop Quorum in Chelsea's King's Road.

The picture posed great technical problems for Hockney. He worked out the composition over an extended period of time, from photographs and drawings. This two-sided sketch contains a three-quarter profile portrait study of Clark, made from life, on the recto. Also on the recto, but in reverse, is an ink sketch of a head. On the verso, scratched through, is a profile ink sketch of Birtwell, but it may not be a preparatory study for the double portrait. Hockney wrote: 'The figures are nearly life-size; it's difficult painting figures like that, and it was quite a struggle. They posed for a long time, both Ossie and Celia. Ossie was painted many, many times; I took it out and put it in, out and in. I probably painted the head alone twelve times' (Stangos, p.203).

Shortly after its completion in 1971, the finished portrait was displayed at the National Portrait Gallery, London, together with all the preparatory drawings and photographs. The Tate owns two other studies for the painting (Tate Gallery T01516-17).

Further reading:
Nikos Stangos (ed.), David Hockney by David Hockney, London 1976, pp.23, 197, 203-4, 239
Marco Livingstone, David Hockney, revised edition, London 1987, pp.131, 136-7, 159

Terry Riggs
December 1997

Catalogue entry

David Hockney b. 1937

T01515 Study For ‘Mr and Mrs Clark and Percy’ 1970

Not inscribed.
Pencil, 16¿ x 14 (42.8 x 35.5).
Presented by the artist 1972.
Exh: Snap, Welsh Arts Council touring exhibition, National Portrait Gallery, March–April 1971; Newport Museum and Art Gallery, May 1971; University of Cardiff, June 1971; University of Aberystwyth, August–September 1971 (not numbered).

This drawing is a three-quarter profile portrait study of Ossie Clark made for the double portrait, T01269. It was clearly drawn from life. Part of the drawing of the top of the head has been cut.

Also on the recto of the sheet but in reverse is an ink sketch of a head. On the verso is a profile ink sketch of Celia Birtwell, but it may not be a preparatory study for T01269.

Published in The Tate Gallery Report 1970–1972, London 1972.

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