was about nine years old, sitting cross-legged on the wooden floor of Brighton art gallery in the middle of a heatwave. It smelled old, like my nan’s house, and the painting positioned in front of me and my class felt as though it was the biggest thing I had ever seen.
David Hockney’s Mr and Mrs Clarke and Percy was on loan to the gallery and we had all been bundled out of junior school to take a look at it. We yawned and scratched and picked the scabs on our knees – like kids do when they are hot and bored – but then the gallery assistant asked us to look. She told us about Hockney and how he painted his friends in their house in London. She said that Celia Birtwell, the woman in the painting, was a fabric designer and that Ossie Clarke was a fashion designer. Birtwell was pregnant at the time, she said, which is symbolised by the lilies. Clarke was a naughty character, which is why he has a cat on his lap. Read more