David Hockney



In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
David Hockney born 1937
Etching and aquatint on paper
Support: 410 x 330 mm
Presented by Klaus Anschel in memory of his wife Gerty 1997


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

Display caption

Celebrated as a Pop artist in the 1960s, David Hockney remains one of the most admired British painters. In his early career he was better known for his prints than for his paintings. He began to make etchings while a student at the Royal College of Art, when he could not afford paint and the Graphic department gave out free materials. These early prints laid the foundation for much of his subsequent work. They experiment with various styles. Many of them make oblique references to the artist's homosexuality. Here he has juxtaposed the word 'Queen' with the initials 'CR' which refer to pop singer Cliff Richard, whom he admired at this time.

Gallery label, August 2004

Technique and condition

An etching with aquatint, possibly made with a soft resist such as sugar lift. Printed in black ink on white wove paper, it is signed in the bottom margin. Structurally the print is in good condition. The paper has discoloured slightly and has water stains along the bottom edge. There is no evidence of previous display.

Calvin Winner
March 1998

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