T03069 MR AND MRS STEPHEN BUCKLEY 1974–6
Inscribed ‘Howard Hodgkin 1976’ on reverse
Oil and synthetic thickening medium on wood panel, 28 1/2 × 42 1/2 (73.3 × 107.4)
Purchased from James Kirkman Ltd (Gytha Trust) 1980
Exh: The Human Clay, Hayward Gallery, August 1976 (58); Howard Hodgkin, André Emmerich Gallery, New York, September–October 1977 (no catalogue); Howard Hodgkin, Galerie André Emmerich, Zurich, November–December 1977 (no catalogue); Mixed Exhibition, Knoedler Gallery, March 1978 (no catalogue, listed on duplicated sheet); Art Anglais d'Aujourd'hui: Collection Tate Gallery, Londres, Musée Rath, Geneva, July–September 1980 (12, repr.)
The title of this painting refers to the British artist Stephen Buckley, and his wife. Howard Hodgkin also painted a smaller version of the same subject, ‘The Buckleys at Brede’ 1974–6 (Australian National Gallery, Canberra). The artist writes (letter of 2 June 1980): 'Both pictures were the result of staying for the weekend with the Buckleys in a house they had borrowed at Brede near Rye, Sussex. The subject of the picture is simply a family group sitting round a fire in the evening. I think the time of year must have been autumn, as I remember it was quite chilly.
'Beyond this, I hope the picture speaks for itself...
'The picture was painted on a second-hand wooden drawing board, the surface of which was not primed in any way. The drawing pin holes can be seen all over the picture...
'Though I approve its present frame, the picture was originally exhibited without one and ideally this is how it should remain. So I should prefer it to be shown without a frame.’
The Tate Gallery 1980-82: Illustrated Catalogue of Acquisitions, London 1984