The iconic work of David Hockney


David Hockney is one of the most famous British artists of the 20th century. Discover the diversity of his career through our collection of rare posters.

Celebrated since the 1960s, Hockney has forged a unique style that blends Pop, Cubism and Realism. Over the years his practice has evolved in time with new technologies, and his many talents include painting, drawing, printmaking, photography, stage design and digital image making. Prolific in all these mediums, Hockney has remained free from any single way of working. 


Following the success of his 60s Pop paintings, Hockney turned to a more naturalistic style. He produced intimate portraits, preferring to paint directly from life opposed to photographs, believing the camera cannot capture the volume that the naked eye can see. Between 1972-3, the fabric designer Celia Birtwell became his female muse; ‘Celia has a beautiful face, a very rare face with lots of things in it which appeal to me.’ 

Hockney’s later paintings used bright colours and joyful mark making, heavily influenced by early 20th century artists like Picasso, Matisse and Dufy. The Cubist theory of multiple perspectives became increasingly important to Hockney, and this tension between reality and fiction is a key theme throughout his career.  

Theatre and costume design

A French Triple Bill, limited edition silkscreen poster, £4,250 framed

Among Hockney’s accomplishments are iconic stage designs for operas including the Glyndebourne productions of The Rake’s Progress in 1974 and The Magic Flute in 1978. He was also famously commissioned for French Triple Bill at the Metropolitan Opera House, New York in 1981. Hockney delighted in designing for the stage, creating playful, artificial spaces in which real people would perform; ‘I was always interested in theatre because it is about creating illusion in space.’ 


Gregory Loading his Camera 1983, £290 framed

Driven by his interest in Cubist multi-perspective, in 1982 Hockney developed a unique method of layering Polaroid photos taken one after the other. He chose the term ‘joiners’ to describe his photo collages that captured movement, memory and three-dimensionality. To Hockney, these works were more life-like than a single photo.


Hockney was very interested in printing as a medium through which his work could reach the public. He translated his line drawings into etchings and lithographs, and in 1986 discovered the innovative use of an office photocopier as an art printmaking machine. Using this technique he made layered images not unlike lithographs, and named them ‘Home Made Prints’. He was also an active exhibition poster designer.

In 1969 Hockney produced a series of 39 etchings, ‘Illustrations for Six Fairy Tales from the Brothers Grimm’ that took him a year to complete. The prints were published by Paul Cornwall John of Petersburg Press, and produced as a limited edition portfolio and miniature book. Hockney was drawn to the timeless fairy tales; ‘They’re fascinating, the little stories, told in a very simple, direct style; it was this simplicity that attracted me.’ 

Hockney has created a lifetime’s worth of unforgettable artworks. Now 82 years old, he remains one of Britain's most beloved artists.

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