Ask a question about 'Mr and Mrs Clark and Percy'
Start a new discussion about 'Mr and Mrs Clark and Percy'
Answer questions from other users
Mr and Mrs Clark and Percy
is a painting by the British artist David Hockney
David Hockney, CH, RA, is an English painter, draughtsman, printmaker, stage designer and photographer, who is based in Bridlington, Yorkshire and Kensington, London....
. Painted between 1970 and 1971, it depicts the fashion designer Ossie Clark
Raymond "Ossie" Clark was an English fashion designer who was a major figure in the Swinging Sixties scene in London and the fashion industry in that era...
and the textile designer Celia Birtwell
Celia Birtwell, CBE is a textile designer known for her distinctive bold, romantic and feminine designs, which draw influences from Picasso, Matisse and from the classical world. She was particularly famous in the 1960s and 1970s for prints which epitomised the glamour of the hippie era...
shortly after their wedding at which Hockney was Clark's best man. Hockney and Clark had been friends since the early 1960s. One of their cats sits on Ossie's knee (the cat in the painting was not in fact Percy — this was the name of one of their other cats — but Hockney thought Percy made a better title than Blanche, the cat he painted). The work is in acrylic on canvas, and measures 2170 x 3084mm. The painting featured in the final 10 of the Greatest Painting in Britain Vote
The Greatest Painting in Britain Vote was a survey made by BBC Radio 4's Today programme in Summer 2005 with the aim of discovering the best-loved painting in Britain, in the manner of 100 Greatest Britons, The Big Read and the Mona Joe...
in 2005, the only work by a living artist to do so. The painting is in the collection of the Tate Gallery
The Tate is an institution that houses the United Kingdom's national collection of British Art, and International Modern and Contemporary Art...
Hockney drew on both The Arnolfini Portrait
by Jan van Eyck
Jan van Eyck was a Flemish painter active in Bruges and considered one of the best Northern European painters of the 15th century....
and A Rake's Progress
A Rake's Progress is a series of eight paintings by 18th century English artist William Hogarth. The canvases were produced in 1732–33 then engraved and published in print form in 1735...
by William Hogarth
William Hogarth was an English painter, printmaker, pictorial satirist, social critic and editorial cartoonist who has been credited with pioneering western sequential art. His work ranged from realistic portraiture to comic strip-like series of pictures called "modern moral subjects"...
in the symbolism and composition of the painting. A copy of Hockney's own interpretation of A Rake's Progress
is seen on the wall. The positions of the two figures are reversed from the Arnolfini Portrait
with the implication that Birtwell is the dominant partner. The lilies near Birtwell, a symbol of female purity are also associated with depictions of the Annunciation
The Annunciation, also referred to as the Annunciation to the Blessed Virgin Mary or Annunciation of the Lord, is the Christian celebration of the announcement by the angel Gabriel to Virgin Mary, that she would conceive and become the mother of Jesus the Son of God. Gabriel told Mary to name her...
(at the time of the portrait Birtwell was pregnant). The cat on Clark's lap is a symbol of infidelity and envy. In this case Clark, who was bisexual, continued to have affairs which contributed to the breakdown of the marriage in 1974.