This signed print by British artist David Hockney, a figure widely considered to be one of the most influential artists of the 20th century, was issued in 1954 in a very limited edition of 6. Depicting a traditional British fish and chip shop in the artist’s native Bradford, Yorkshire, it is an example of one of the artist’s earliest works.
Produced in 1954, Fish And Chip Shop offers unique insight into a very early stage of British artist David Hockney’s career. Produced when Hockney was only 17 and still a student at Bradford School of Art, the lithograph print depicts an interior scene at the local chippy, The Sea Catch, in the Bradford suburb of Eccleshill. Located just around the corner from Hockney’s home, the fish and chip shop was the recipient of one copy of the print, presented as a gift by Hockney himself. This particular copy hung above the deep fat fryers until the establishment’s closure in 1970. Although its style may not be wholly similar to that which Hockney went on to develop later in his career, traces of the artist’s many different ‘ways of seeing’ remain. Small instances of cross-hatching, a recurring technical motif within Hockney’s etching works, evoke the rigid forms of Hockney’s set designs for a 1975 showing of Stravinsky’s The Rake’s Progress, as seen in his poster print, An Exhibit Of Costumes (1975). Fish shop owners John ‘Hayden’ and Janet Smith are brought to life by way of an innovative use of negative space. Although largely dissimilar from the artist’s Photo Collages series, this print testifies to a similarly loose, impressionistic approach to perspective: with the fish shop counter and deep-fat fryer unit failing to accurately mirror one another, the interior space of the chip shop is enlarged, offering us a privileged glimpse into its bustling and intimate space.