In 1962 I was elected to the committee of
the Balliol College Junior Common Room. The only reason I had sought
election was to take on the role of Art Buyer. The annual budget was
£200, quite a lot in those days. I took on the post very much in the
shadow of the previous buyer, Alexander Patrick Greysteil Hore-Ruthven,
3rd Earl of Gowrie, later to become Conservative Arts minister
under Margaret Thatcher and Chairman of the Arts Council. With
extraordinary forsight he bought several paintings by David Hockney at the
student show at the Royal College of Art in 1961. One of them,
illustrated on the right
he bought for Balliol. >>>>>
|a few words about his art to the students. He
arrived in a gold lame suit. In his strong Bradford accent he told the
that, as he had been paid for the picture, he had no objection if the
college burned it. To my surprise the college, non-plused by Hockney's
frankness voted on this occasion to keep the picture. However, two years
later, another meeting was called after I had gone and this time the
vote went the other way and the painting was sold for £200.
(Post script: Perhaps Hockney painted two versions. I have no memory of the Alka Selza packet and I am sure the words "the most beautiful boy in the world" were written round the bum rather in the manner of "two boys together clinging")
It is now in a private collection in U.S.A. Value $1 million plus?
I am not at all a fan of Hockney's work. In the 60s friend's of ours knew him well when he was at the Royal College and I loved his drawings and water colours from that time. I don't think he can paint for toffee now. I even went to a party in his flat and another friend of his drove him around Norfolk selling his drawings.
My father bought one for £10 when they came to Booton (they were all about that price) and sold it some years later & bought a sailing boat from the proceeds! The same friend drove Hockney & my father to Norwich in his sports car & Hockney was sick down my dad's neck. He seemed like a nice guy and very alive in those days; but now that he has become a 'grand old man' I find him pretty boring.