Leading article: Can we now have a Hockney portrait of the Queen?

Click to follow

Last time around, he turned it down. In 1990, David Hockney refused a knighthood on the grounds that he "does not care for a fuss". That the famously cantankerous pop art icon has now been appointed to the Order of Merit suggests he may be mellowing with age.

We can only hope so, and that the new-found mood might also apply to the matter of a royal portrait. Hockney has in the past also turned down a request to paint a portrait of the Queen, saying that he only paints people he knows. Perhaps now he could make an exception?

One need look no further than his 1989 portrait of his mother. Far from the hyper-real colours and sharp lines of his best-known works, the painting captures all the unfathomable complexity of human character and long life. If Hockney could conjure a vision of the Queen that was even half as moving – now that really would be something.