The Drinking Scene is a characteristically striking work from A Rake’s Progress, one of David Hockney’s most famous print series. He began work on the portfolio in 1961 while he was still a student, taking inspiration from Hogarth’s 1735 work of the same name. While Hogarth’s prints are filled with details and drama, however, Hockney presents a modern and understated – although just as powerful – tale, focusing on his personal experience of loneliness and alienation in a foreign city. The Drinking Scene shows two figures standing at a bar, their backs turned to the viewer. One has his arm around the other and they appear deep in conversation, and perhaps already drunk. To the right of the bar scene two figures are shown facing us, perhaps the same ones, their bodies cropped to focus on their faces, almost pressed together in a conspiratorial way. The only touch of colour is the lettering above their heads that reads ‘bar’ with an arrow pointing to the left. The bar itself offers a wonderful still life of bottles on shelves, framed by what appears to be a kind of fringe of the type found above a stage. Here we see Hockney’s fascination with theatre and trompe l’oeil manifest itself, as in the later print Figure By A Curtain and his later work on stage sets and costumes, including an opera version of A Rake’s Progress for Glyndebourne in 1975.