When David Hockney drew for Eagle (sort of!)

David Hockney, one of the most popular and influential British artists of the twentieth century has returned to Tate Britain in London for his most comprehensive exhibition so far, running until May 2017 – but it doesn’t include his entry for an Eagle comic competition in 1952.

 David Hockney Portrait of an Artist (Pool with Two Figures) 1972 Private Collection © David Hockney Photo Credit: Art Gallery of New South Wales / Jenni Carter
David Hockney Portrait of an Artist (Pool with Two Figures) 1972 Private Collection © David Hockney Photo Credit: Art Gallery of New South Wales / Jenni Carter

This exhibition gathers together an extensive selection of David Hockney’s most famous works celebrating his achievements in painting, drawing, print, photography and video across six decades.

As he approaches his 80th birthday, Hockney continues to change his style and ways of working, embracing new technologies as he goes. From his portraits and images of Los Angeles swimming pools, through to his drawings and photography, Yorkshire landscapes and most recent paintings – some of which have never been seen before in public – this exhibition shows how the roots of each new direction lay in the work that came before.

A once-in-a-lifetime chance to see these unforgettable works together.

David’s been drawing almost his entire life of course, but back in the 1950s as a teenager his subject matter was a bit more mundane – an entry for a competition by watch makers Ingersoll to design a watch for their popular Dan Dare and Riders of the Range line.

The Bradford-based artist was however, not the winner – he was only the runner up to another now famous artist – Gerald Scarfe.

Over on his Boys Adventure Blog, downthetubes contributor Richard Sheaf posted both winning entries, from his copy of Eagle founder Marcus Morris‘ biography Living with Eagles.


Although Richard’s been lucky enough to get his copy signed by Gerald Scarfe, he’s yet to meet David Hockney!

Only Gerald Scarfe’s entry first appeared in Eagle (Volume 3, Issue 37, cover dated 19th December 1952) when the winners were announced, as you can see below. David Hockney was one of several runners up in the over 12s category. (Were you one of the lucky winners? Let us know!)

The winners of the Eagle Ingersoll watch competition, who include Gerald Scarfe and David Hockney, announced in Eagle Volume 3 No. 37, cover dated 19th December 1952
The winners of the Eagle Ingersoll watch competition, who include Gerald Scarfe and David Hockney, announced in Eagle Volume 3 No. 37, cover dated 19th December 1952

Gerald Scarfe was of course no stranger to the pages of Eagle – here’s another of his artworks, published in Eagle Volume 3 No. 31, cover dated 7th November 1952.

Greald Scarfe's cartoon which featured in Eagle Volume 3 No. 31, cover dated 7th November 1952.
Greald Scarfe’s cartoon which featured in Eagle Volume 3 No. 31, cover dated 7th November 1952.

• This David Hockney exhibition is organised collaboratively by Tate Britain, the Centre Pompidou, Paris and The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. It runs until 29th May 2017. Visit this Tate Britain web page for more exhibition details and ticketing information 

• David Hockney official site: www.hockneypictures.com

• Gerald Scarfe official site: www.geraldscarfe.com

John Freeman

The founder of downthetubes, John describes himself as is a "freelance comics operative", currently working as a freelance editor for TITAN COMICS, as Creative Consultant on the new DAN DARE audio adventures for B7 Media, and on promotional work for the LAKES INTERNATIONAL COMIC ART FESTIVAL and LANCASTER COMICS DAY. John has worked in British comics publishing for over 30 years, starting out at Marvel UK, where he edited a number of the Genesis 1992 books with Paul Neary. His numerous credits include editor of titles such as Doctor Who Magazine at Marvel and Star Trek Magazine and Babylon 5 Magazine at Titan Magazines, where he was Managing Editor. He also edited STRIP Magazine and worked as an editor on several audio comics for ROK Comics, including TEAM M.O.B.I.L.E. and THE BEATLES STORY. Most recently he is writing CRUCIBLE as a creator-owned project with 2000AD artist Smuzz, published on Tapastic; and DEATH DUTY and SKOW DOGS with Dave Hailwood for the digital comic 100% Biodegradable.

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