The Hockneys
156 pages

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156 pages

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‘The most charming… portrait of this ever-popular artist… so enormously appealing: good-natured, bluntly told, skimmed with Yorkshire humour… This is a story of sticky jam tarts, catching tadpoles in jars, torchlit conversations under the bedclothes, gossipy queues at the butcher’s and hikes among the hedgerows under swallow-strewn skies.’ The Telegraph

‘Never worry what the neighbours think’ was the philosophy that Kenneth Hockney used to inspire his children – David Hockney, one of the world’s greatest living artists and siblings John, Paul, Philip and Margaret – to each choose their own route in life.

The Hockney’s is a never before seen insight into the lives of the family by youngest brother John, from growing up in the Second World War in Bradford through to their diverse lives across three continents. Hardship, successes as well as close and complex relationships are poignantly illustrated with private photographs.

With a rare and spirited look into the lives of an ordinary family with extraordinary stories, we begin to understand the creative freedom that led to their successful careers and the launchpad for an artist’s work that has inspired and continues to inspire generations across the world.



Publié par
Date de parution 31 août 2021
Nombre de lectures 0
EAN13 9781800316676
Langue English
Poids de l'ouvrage 1 Mo

Informations légales : prix de location à la page 0,0324€. Cette information est donnée uniquement à titre indicatif conformément à la législation en vigueur.


Legend Press Ltd., 51 Gower Street, London WC1E 6HJ |
Print ISBN: 978-1-80031-6-669
Typesetting by Richard Carr |
Cover design by Gudrun Jobst |
Printing managed by Jellyfish Solutions Ltd
Content and photographs John Hockney 2019
The rights of the above author to be identified as the author of this work has been asserted in accordance with the Copyright, Design and Patents Act 1988.
British Library Cataloguing in Publication Data available.
Any copy of this book issued by the publisher is sold subject to the condition that it shall not by way of trade or otherwise be lent, resold, hired out or otherwise circulated without the publisher s prior consent in any form of binding or cover other than that in which it is published and without similar conditions including these words being imposed on a subsequent purchaser.
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photography, recording or any other information storage and retrieval systems, without prior permission in writing from the publisher.
A short mention of family trees
1 Mum s Parents - The Thompsons
2 Dad s Parents - The Hockney Grandparents
3 Laura Thompson - Early Life
4 Kenneth Hockney - Early days
5 Marriage and Settling Down
6 War - Evacuation - Reunion
7 Marriage and Beyond
8 His Heart of Kindness and Concern for His Fellow Man
9 Paul Hockney
10 Philip Kenneth Hockney
11 Margaret Hockney
12 David Hockney: Art is Life
13 David Hockney: Devotion Costs
14 John Hockney: Stage by Stage Part 1
15 John Hockney: Stage by Stage Part 2
A Thank You to Bradford
A short mention of family trees
My great-grandfather Robert Hockney was born in Croxby, North Lincolnshire in 1841. A farm labourer, he married Harriet Sutton in 1865 who bore him two boys:
John Robert Hockney b: Ottringham, East Yorkshire in 1865, and my grandfather William James Hockney b: Thorngumbald, East Yorkshire 10 March 1868.
William James Hockney married Kate Louise Jesney on 3 March 1903 at Hunslet, near Leeds. They had seven children, two dying at childbirth. The five remaining were Harriet b: 1892, Lillian b: 1897, William b: 1899, Kenneth, my father b: 19 May 1904 and Audrey b:1907.
I had some difficulty tracing the Hockney grandparents, being assisted by a Mr. Hackney from Hornsea. It was he who eventually realised William James Hockney and Kate Louise Jesney had three children before marrying in 1903.
Robert Thompson was born on 21 May 1827, marrying Jane Whinter on 25 December 1851. They had eight children with Charles, my grandfather being born in Scaming, Norfolk, in 1861.
Charles married Mary Hannah Sugden in 1882 in Bradford, Yorkshire. They had five children:
Rebecca, Jane, Annie, Laura, my mother (b: 10 December 1900) and Robert.
Interestingly both the Thompson and Hockney families were registered as agricultural labourers living in rural areas. Most Hockneys listed today (not necessarily related) live around North Lincolnshire and Humberside in Yorkshire. The movements of each of the families are well documented within the stories I share.

Never worry what the neighbours think
was a quote my father frequently shared with his children. He never wanted us to be anything else except true to ourselves, to be confident and pursue life and opportunities as we faced them. Each Hockney sibling followed his advice, making a place in their world. As David Hockney commented: My father s statement is aristocratic, not working class. I have followed it all my life.
I use Dad s quote for the title of this book because each sibling achieved in their lives never worrying what the neighbours thought.
From character-forming but opposing moralistic grandparents, to financially deprived parents who believed in knowledge and education as a future for their children, Never Worry What the Neighbours Think becomes the story of the Hockneys of Bradford and their children. David Hockney, the most famous sibling, as one of the world s foremost living artists, often overshadows the individual successes of Paul, Philip, Margaret and myself, John.
This is their story.
You must keep your room tidy, David.
My mother verbally chastised David for his slovenly behaviour. Paint tubes scattered on the floor; clothes dropped where he stepped out of them. He needed discipline to think tidy. Scrounging from her precious budget, mum paid Mr Whitehead two shillings a week to teach David calligraphy. Her idea succeeded when a few weeks later David s room appeared neater, and he presented her with an illustrated scroll of Muslihuddin Sadi s delightful poem, Hyacinths to Feed Thy Soul .

If of thy mortal goods thou art bereft
And from thy slender store two loaves
Alone are left ,
Sell one, and with the dole
Buy hyacinths to feed the soul
David may have had the last word when later he was introduced to a poem by Robert Herrick, Delight in Disorder :

A sweet disorder in the dress
Kindles in clothes a wantonness;
A lawn about the shoulders thrown
Into a fine distraction;
An erring lace, which here and there
Enthrals the crimson stomacher;
A cuff neglectful, and thereby
Ribands to flow confusedly;
A winning wave, deserving note ,
In the tempestuous petticoat;
A careless shoe-string, in whose tie
I see a wild civility :
Do more than bewitch me, than when art
Is too precise in every part .
Sharing an attic bedroom with David Hockney from 1943 to 1957, from childhood through mid-teen years, I had no perception he was to become one of the greatest artists of the twenty-first century. He quietly kept his own counsel about his life plan, until he became devious to ensure his future followed the artistic path he so passionately sought.
Whenever I met people telling me I know my station in life , I was sad. Not because my family were any better, but because we were aware, informed; we knew we had a choice . And we used it.
The Hockneys: Never Worry What the Neighbours Think is written to share my stories of the Hockneys of Bradford.
John Hockney
Leura - Australia 2018

Hannah Sugden

Charles Thompson
Charles and Hannah Thompson

My interest in storytelling grew whenever my mother spoke about her childhood and her mother and father. As Grandad Thompson died before I was born, I became inquisitive about who he was, and where he came from. From an interview with my mother in 1989 I was able to compile this story .
Charles Thompson lay in a meadow, relishing summer s setting sun. He lay on his back, hands cupped behind his neck to support his head, as he chewed leisurely on a straw. The smell of newly mown hay filled the air. His eyes absorbed the gently undulating countryside where he lived and worked, creating a visual memory stored to renew at will.
Charles was leaving this countryside of Dereham in Norfolk to start his appointment as Captain of the Salvation Army Citadel in Bradford, the heart of the industrial north and a far different place to his native homeland. When the dark satanic blackness of smoke-filled air became too much to bear, he often recalled the sweetness and joy of that evening.
A Christian and founding member of General William Booth s Salvation Army, Charles was a fervent follower; passionate, with empathy and a deep desire to help others; the reason he became Captain.
Whenever Charles felt doubt or despair, he recalled Booth s citation:

While women weep, as they do now ,
I ll fight
While little children go hungry, as they do now ,
I ll fight
While men go to prison, in and out, in and out, as they do
now ,
I ll fight
While there is a drunkard left ,
While there is a poor lost girl upon the streets ,
While there remains one dark soul without the light of God ,
I ll fight, I ll fight to the very end .
He was given a third-class train ticket in a carriage with wooden seats. Through the train window, Charles took pleasure gazing at the lush green pastures of Norfolk and Lincolnshire. Gradually the landscape changed from golden fields to the coal slagheaps and steel mills of Sheffield and beyond. Darkness cloaked the atmosphere as he disembarked at Bradford, his final destination. Standing momentarily outside the station, he looked up at the smoke-filled sky, pondering his years ahead before striding towards the citadel that was to become his home as he spread the word of the Lord.
Cluttered by mills and terraced back-to-back stone cottages, the Laisterdyke Salvation Army Citadel seemed removed from the human despair around it. This was the place where God, and General William Booth, sent Charles to save souls. Unlike his native Norfolk, Bradford was densely populated, houses crowded around mills and scouring houses. He faced his first major problem. Cheap licences for public beer houses were offered to anyone prepared to open one.
An ordinary house could open their front room or parlour, provide seats and glasses, and offer pints or half pints of the local brew of beer from a barrel propped up on a table. The fast-growing pub industry lured men living on the breadline into a temporary retreat on drunken Friday night binges. They tried to forget their abject deprivation. Children stood barefoot, peering into parlour doorways waiting for fathers whose wages were spent or precious little left. Wives struggled to feed and clothe their families, facing another week of hardship, and the accumulation of more debt. Men became embittered by their own weakness, followed by deep remorse and sorrow, but too late to stop the continuous cycle of poverty.
Charles tried to help the best way he could, offering a shilling to buy food or making food parcels, helping families survive a couple of extra days

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