Hockney, David (b.1937), 'The Seven Stone Weakling', Etching & Aquatint, 1961-63

'The Seven Stone Weakling', Etching & Aquatint, 1961-63

Please Note: This item is not for sale.
Signed and numbered in pencil. From the edition of 50, there were also 10 proofs. Printed on Barcham Green handmade paper by C.H.Welch, London

Published by Editions Alecto in 1963 (sheet bears their blindstamp).

This etching shows the shy, and comparatively diminutive, rake taking shelter under a tree as he gazes in awe at a pair of lithe and muscular joggers in their minute shorts racing through central park. The title of this etching was lifted straight from advertisements for body building which Hockney had pored over in magazines such as ‘Physical Pictorial’ which his friend Mark Berger had shown him in London. These magazines had fuelled Hockney’s fantasies for idealised and eroticised male American bodies and the more free and liberal gay life that was available in New York.


‘A Rake’s Progress’ is Hockney’s first and most celebrated print series. On his 24th birthday, Hockney set out to New York on what was to be one of the most thrilling and pivotal journeys of his early career. The set of sixteen etchings takes as it’s starting point Hogarth’s 1732 series of eight paintings of the same title, which depict the decline and fall of Tom Rakewell from riches to madness. Hockney would have seen this much-lauded group in the collection of London’s John Soane museum, where they still reside. Hockney recalled, “My original intention was…to take Hogarth’s titles and somehow play with them and set it in New York in modern times. What I liked was telling a story just visually”. ‘A Rake’s Progress’ was produced over a two year period, from 1961 to 1963 and were published to great acclaim by Editions Alecto in association with the Royal College of Art in December 1963.


Image Size 30.3 x 40.3 cm
Paper Size 49 x 58 cm
Reference Tokyo 17
Collections Tate Gallery, London; V & A, London; MOMA, New York; Art Institute of Chicago; Fine Art Museums of San Francisco; National Gallery of Australia Canberra