With his long hair swept across his eyes, Peter Schlesinger’s gaze is unswerving, fixing the artist and viewer with its air of melancholy intimacy. Unlike Hockney’s other portrait of his lover, here we are presented with just his head in a tight crop that also excludes any background or context, as if it were a passport picture. Hockney’s mastery of etching is laid bare in this 1968 print which shows his ability to treat the etching plate as just another page in his sketchbook, rendering his lover’s features in exquisite detail, playing with light and shadow to add an intensity to his expression which recalls the etchings of Hockney’s near contemporary Lucian Freud. Schlesinger is perhaps Hockney’s most famous lover and while he rejects the label of ‘muse’ he appears in dozens of Hockney’s sketches and paintings, including the record breaking work Portrait of an Artist (Pool with Two Figures) which became the most expensive painting by a living artist when it sold at auction for $90.3 million in 2018. This work dates to 1968, just two years into the pair’s relationship which began in 1966, when Hockney was teaching at UCLA where Peter was a student, and ended in the early 70s, becoming the subject of the 1973 film A Bigger Splash.