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Not currently on display at the V&A

The Diploma

Print
1962 (printed)
Artist/Maker
Place of origin

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.

Object details

Categories
Object type
TitleThe Diploma (assigned by artist)
Materials and techniques
Etching and aquatint, printed in red and black on paper
Brief description
'The Diploma'. Print by David Hockney showing the Principal and Registrar of the Royal Academy. Etching and aquatint, 1962.
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.
Dimensions
  • Size of plate height: 40.6cm
  • Size of plate width: 28cm
  • Size of sheet height: 57.1cm
  • Size of sheet width: 39.8cm
Style
Production typeLimited edition
Copy number
11/50
Marks and inscriptions
  • David Hockney '62 (Signature; date; pencil)
  • 11/50 (Maker's identification; pencil)
Object history
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.
Subjects depicted
Place depicted
Summary
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.
Bibliographic reference
Victoria and Albert Museum Department of Prints and Drawings and Department of Paintings, Accessions 1963 . London: HMSO, 1964.
Collection
Accession number
E.1084-1963

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Record createdDecember 18, 2002
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