David and Celia

6 February 2012
Ben Pentreath

What’s on your coffee table right now? A few weeks ago my friend Will produced a ticket to the Hockney exhibition. It was interesting to see (noting, I have to say, my friend Chris’s comment on twitter yesterday: ‘Want to see the sharp elbowed middle classes? Glance at the Hockney queue for the ticketed…’) but… I think we slightly missed the quiet, careful purity of early Hockney—the world of A Bigger Splash. Although we loved the films of ballet dancers—happy, meditative, playful, flirtatious Hockney of old.

Anyway, it’s been time to dip into David Hockney by David Hockney. And this weekend he was joined by Celia Birtwell, which I bought entirely on impulse on Friday. May I recommend this brilliant book? We must get it in the shop. For now, find a copy, and wish that Notting Hill was still grimy and unloved, that The Iron Lady hadn’t even happened, and that the mere Cold War was the worst thing we had to worry about.

But there are no worries here. A perfect read to settle down with, and dream of warmer days.

Mr & Mrs Clark and Percy was at Dulwich a little while ago. I’m not sure if it is still in the gallery at the moment, but what a refreshing joy it was to see in that hallowed space. And, of all the exhausting hype (I mean, Andrew Marr with Hockney on Radio 4: really?) surrounding Hockney at the R.A., perhaps the most exciting news of all is the BFI’s reissue of that brilliant, strange film A Bigger Splash. Watch the trailer here. For the real fun, watch at home, with a glass of wine or three. Can we have enough Peter Schlesinger? Hmmm. No, we can not!

5 comments on this post

Jayne Mcleodsays:

lovely inspiration …. thank you! Jayne, Canada

Okay far be it from me to offer my thoughts to ones as illustrious as yourselves, but the fornasetti piece is stunning in it’s present position, sort of reminds me of the old dolls house in the corner, love the blue glass and tulips on top. Fornasetti is a favorite of mine as are celia birtwell and David Hockney. Here in Melbourne we have been having a heat wave but today with slightly cooler weather are enjoying a lazy Sunday. First time looking at your work – will continue wishing for a trip to good old London town, last lived in Fulham
Regards and thanks for the beauty

Cilla rule


Dear Cilla I LOVE the thought of the chest of drawers as a dollshouse. Perfect! Ben

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