Wednesday 25 October 2023

Hockney cat sculpture created at art school in 1955 and given to a kind couple fetched £111,875 at auction

Sixty-eight years ago, David Hockney and his Bradford College of Art friend, Norman Stevens, were hitchhiking to London to visit exhibitions. It was raining and they were sheltering under the eaves of a house owned by Peter Richards and his wife alongside the A1 in Bedfordshire.

Mr Richards with the Hockney ceramic cat sculpture given to him by the artist for his kindness is providing shelter in the rain in 1955.
Mr Richards with the Hockney ceramic cat sculpture given to him by the artist for his kindness is providing shelter in the rain in 1955. Image: NationalWorld

The Richards felt bad for the guys and they invited them in to dry off and have a cup of tea. It was a rainy Sunday afternoon and their kindness was not forgotten by David Hockney.

He gave them a sculpture of a ceramic domestic cat which was modelled on Mr and Mrs Richards' cat, it is believed. Hockney sculpted the cat in 1955 while still at art school. It is one of six created at college.

It measures 34.5 cm x 40 cm x 15.5 cm. The sculpture comes with drawings and plans for the artwork together with letters and cards sent to the Richards by the artist over the years. A friendship had been created.

Apparently, Hockney has always been interested in cats and they feature in some of his major works.

The cat sculpture was auctioned on October 24. It shattered the previous record of £100,000 set by similar David Hockney sculpture in June 2023.

Hockney cat sculpture and accompanying paperwork
Hockney cat sculpture and accompanying paperwork. Image: NationalWorld.

Mark Stacey of Stacey's Auctioneers & Valuers said that the artwork had exceeded all expectations.

He added that, "This was a fantastic result for the vendor who was present in the room and was auctioning the Hockney items to benefit his grandchildren. The cat exceeded all expectations and £111,875 is a record for a Hockney ceramic cat, superseding the previous price achieved at Christie's in June of this year. There was both online and telephone bidding from bidders in the UK and globally with it finally being sold to an anonymous UK buyer."

Hockney is one of Britain's most celebrated artists. He is 86 years of age as at the date of this post and he smokes. He dislikes the 'persecution' of smokers in the UK!

He says that when he is creating art, he feels like he is 30 years old. He is considered one of the most influential British artists of the 20th century. He's a painter, draughtsman, printmaker, stage designer and photographer. He has used the iPad and Polaroid to create art.

Richards sold the sculpture to raise funds to give to their grandchildren. He is now in his 90s and lives in Thorpe Bay, Essex.


P.S. please forgive any typos. These articles are written at breakneck speed using Dragon Dictate. I have to prepare them in around 20 mins.

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