David Hockney "Salts Mill, Saltaire, Yorks" 1997
Oil on 2 canvases. 48 x 120" overall
© David Hockney
I have mentioned before (see 1 July) the link between the Bradford-born artist David Hockney and Saltaire. There are two floors of gallery space devoted to David Hockney's work in Salts Mill - the largest permanent collection of his work in the world. You can also buy prints of many of his works.
Lots of local people have this colourful painting on their wall. Entitled "Salts Mill, Saltaire, Yorks", Hockney painted the original in oil on two canvases. It's actually a fairly faithful reproduction of the Mill itself, and has become an iconic portrayal of Saltaire. It references the village houses, with their allotments alongside the mill, the all-important railway and canal, and of course the familiar shape of Saltaire's Congregational Church. Its exuberant colour and swooping lines are a neat rebuttal to the "dark, satanic mills" idea that many have of our Northern towns. Personally, I think the red train is a nice touch!
David painted "Salts Mill" in 1997, along with five wonderful landscapes of North Yorkshire. This was during the period that his friend, Jonathan Silver, who re-created Salts Mill in 1987 as the amazing enterprise it now is, was terminally ill with cancer. Hockney extended his customary summer holiday in the UK to support his friend. Jonathan died in September 1997 at the age of 47. The six new paintings were exhibited for the first time, in the 1853 Gallery, in December that year.
The above image is, of course, copyright to David Hockney and I would like to thank the artist's representatives for giving me permission to reproduce it here.