Brighouse collector finds unknown Hockney sketch at arts fair

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A Brighouse man may have unearthed a rare sketch by one of Britain’s famous artists after rummaging through a set of old frames at an art fair.

Businessman and former councillor Nick Yates is a keen art collector and David Hockney enthusiast.

He attended a fair in Harrogate when one of the frames caught his eye. It contained a pencil sketch that looked vaguely familiar so he took a chance and bought it.

After a close look at home, Mr Yates decided to take the sketch into the Harrison Lord Gallery in Brighouse for a new frame.

It now appears that this drawing is a preparatory sketch by Hockney for one of his most famous paintings.

The gallery owner, Steven Lord, immediately recognised the image as a preparatory sketch for the Hockney painting, the Bigger Splash.

Upon further research, Mr Lord is now convinced that this is indeed a pencil sketch made by Hockney from which he went on to paint the famous image.

Mr Lord said: “The composition is almost identical. In the pencil sketch there is more image to the right than in the finished painting but there is clearly a fold in the paper at the point where Hockney decided to crop the image.

“On the reverse are further sketches which is typical of an artist who is playing around with ideas in a sketch book prior to committing paint to canvas.

“It is signed with Hockney’s rather unusual signature with a greeting so we can assume that he gave it away as a little momento.”

A further proof is that on the back of the original frame was a label for “Art and Furniture” which was a gallery in Chapel Wells, Manchester, which was owned by Jonathon Silver, the great friend of Hockney’s who went on to purchase Salts Mill in Saltaire.

Mr Yates is keen for everybody to see his discovery and let them make up their own mind before he sends it off to London for a final opinion and valuation.

David Hockney was born in Bradford in 1937 and is remembered by some for peddling his paintings from an old pram which he pushed around the city.

It will be on show in the Harrison Lord Gallery in Brighouse from Saturday October 22 for a week, to coincide with the Brighouse Festival.