Hockney memorabilia from mother's house to be sold

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The Independent Online

A collection of old school books, posters and sketches by David Hockney is to go on sale today, further evidence of the apparently insatiable demand for memorabilia relating to the artist.

A collection of old school books, posters and sketches by David Hockney is to go on sale today, further evidence of the apparently insatiable demand for memorabilia relating to the artist.

The assortment, spanning more than 40 years, was left behind when Hockney's mother, Laura, moved from the family home in Bradford.

She sold the property to Leslie Bell, also an artist. At first he was not aware of the Hockney link but soon realised he had a potential treasure trove. "Initially we were not aware that it was the house where David Hockney had been brought up," Mr Bell said.

"It came as quite a surprise when the estate agent casually mentioned we would be buying it from Hockney's mother. At the time it had been standing empty for about a year and, as we got to work cleaning and redecorating, we started finding things - there was stuff all over the place. We found drawings and sketches in the roof void and there were picture frames with Hockney's name on them in the cellar. Unfortunately there were no paintings in them."

However, Mr Bell did find a collection of memorabilia, including a white baseball cap in Hockney's father's old workshop, where the artist was banished to smoke when he visited his mother.

The items are being sold at the DDM auction rooms in Brigg, Lincolnshire, which earlier this year obtained £3,600 for a self-portrait the artist had sketched in a schoolgirl's autograph book in 1957.

Last year, DDM raised £11,000 for an old kitchen blind covered with faxes from Hockney left in his sister's house in Bridlington, East Yorkshire. Hockney had opposed the sale on the grounds that the faxes had been given away and should therefore not be sold.

Yesterday, the auctioneer, Robert Horner of DDM, said: "There is tremendous international interest in anything to do with Hockney and, in terms of personal memorabilia, this is probably as good as it gets from a collector's points of view.

"Of particular note is a poster for the San Francisco Opera House production of The Magic Flute, for which Hockney designed the set. He signed the poster to his mother with a kiss and she had it pinned up in the house.

"There will also be interest in the copy of the 1989 Bradford telephone directory, for which Hockney designed the cover."

How much Mr Bell is likely to get from the sale is not clear, but it will certainly will not be as much as he might have made. He sent about a dozen original drawings - caricatures of school friends and teachers - back to Hockney.

"As an artist myself I thought he would appreciate getting his early work," said Mr Bell. "I have no idea if he did appreciate it - he never wrote."

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