Or are you looking for Search the Archives?

Please complete the form to email this item.

The Diploma

  • Object:


  • Place of origin:

    London (printed)

  • Date:

    1962 (printed)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Hockney, David, born 1937 (artist)
    Royal College of Art (printer)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Etching and aquatint, printed in red and black on paper

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    On short term loan out for exhibition

David Hockney's popularity rests in his wit, love of life, rejection of convention, frank embrace of his sexuality and narrative skill as well as his great talents as a painter and printmaker. Born in Bradford, Yorkshire, in 1937, he began printmaking because he had no money, and sold his first prints to the Museum of Modern Art, New York, while still a student. The following year the Royal College of Art in London withheld his diploma for failing to satisfy the requirements of the General Studies Department. He retaliated by producing his own parody of this requisite. In it he frames the College Rector, Robin Darwin, with two faces, upheld by the tutor of the General Studies Department, who in turn is being pursued by the monstrous maw of the Registrar, John Moon. Bent under the weight of these bureaucrats are the students, seen below the frame at the bottom of the picture. Hockney did subsequently receive his diploma, as well as the gold medal for painting that year.

Physical description

Etching and aquatint in red and black on white paper. The outline of a frame around the Royal Coat of Arms at the top of the image, below this a caricature figure, marching, head thrown back and with upstretched arm supporting another, smaller figure in black with two heads inscribed respectively Ist Face and 2nd Face. The figure below is pursued by the open jaws of a crescent moon shaped monster.

Place of Origin

London (printed)


1962 (printed)


Hockney, David, born 1937 (artist)
Royal College of Art (printer)

Materials and Techniques

Etching and aquatint, printed in red and black on paper

Marks and inscriptions

David Hockney '62
Signature; date; pencil

Maker's identification; pencil


Height: 40.6 cm size of plate, Width: 28 cm size of plate, Height: 57.1 cm size of sheet, Width: 39.8 cm size of sheet

Object history note

The artist made this etching as an imitation of the Royal College of Art Diploma. It shows Sir Robin Darwin, C.B.E., the Principal, accompanied by Mr. J. R. P. Moon, the Registrar, elevating the artist; below the border are the figures of Mr. Michael Kullmann, head of the Department of General Studies, and four students.

Descriptive line

'The Diploma'. Print by David Hockney showing the Principal and Registrar of the Royal Academy. Etching and aquatint, 1962.

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Victoria and Albert Museum Department of Prints and Drawings and Department of Paintings, Accessions 1963 . London: HMSO, 1964.


Paper (fiber product)


Printed; Aquatint

Subjects depicted

Diploma; Graduation; Caricature



Production Type

Limited edition


Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

Large image request

Please confirm you are using these images within the following terms and conditions, by acknowledging each of the following key points:

Please let us know how you intend to use the images you will be downloading.