Mr and Mrs Clark and Percy

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Mr and Mrs Clark and Percy
Hockney.clark-percy.jpg
Artist David Hockney
Year 1970–1971
Type Acrylic on canvas
Dimensions 305 cm × 213 cm (120 in × 84 in)
Location Tate Gallery, London

Mr and Mrs Clark and Percy is a painting by the British artist David Hockney. Painted between 1970 and 1971, it depicts the fashion designer Ossie Clark and the textile designer Celia Birtwell shortly after their wedding at which Hockney was Clark's best man. Hockney and Clark had been friends since the early 1960s. One of their cats sits on Ossie's knee (the cat in the painting was not in fact Percy — this was the name of one of their other cats — but Hockney thought Percy made a better title than Blanche, the cat he painted). The work is in acrylic on canvas, and measures 2170 x 3084mm in its frame. The painting featured in the final 10 of the Greatest Painting in Britain Vote in 2005, the only work by a living artist to do so. The painting is in the collection of the Tate Gallery.

Symbolism[edit]

Hockney drew on both The Arnolfini Portrait by Jan van Eyck and A Rake's Progress by William Hogarth in the symbolism and composition of the painting. A copy of Hockney's own interpretation of A Rake's Progress is seen on the wall. The positions of the two figures are reversed from the Arnolfini Portrait with the implication that Birtwell is the dominant partner. The lilies near Birtwell, a symbol of female purity are also associated with depictions of the Annunciation (at the time of the portrait Birtwell was pregnant). The cat on Clark's lap is a symbol of infidelity and envy. In this case Clark, who was bisexual, continued to have affairs which contributed to the breakdown of the marriage in 1974.

References[edit]