Following on from the The Election Campaign, Viewing A Prison Scene is a dark representation of authoritarianism given a surreal twist. The work refers to a film Hockney saw during his visit to New York in 1961, along with Hogarth’s 1735 print entitled A Prison Scene from A Rake’s Progress, which originally inspired Hockney to create this series of prints by the same name. At the centre of the composition we immediately recognise the figure of the artist who runs throughout the series, characterised by his round glasses and profile. Here he is shown wearing a baseball cap while he watches a large screen on which appears the bottom half of an individual dressed in black whose wrist is handcuffed to that of another. In the distance of the scene, between screen and cinema, stands a pale figure wearing a prison jumpsuit emblazoned with numbers. The artist himself has no arms or legs, recalling statues from antiquity with missing limbs and adding another layer of the uncanny to the scene. In contrast with Hogarth’s version which is packed with detail, the scene is characteristically spare, with large areas of black ink adding to the gloom of the subject. Unlike other prints in the series there is no use of red ink, except for the lettering of the title.