A ceramic cat that David Hockney gifted to a couple who showed kindness to strangers could fetch up to £94,000 at auction. The cat was a ‘thank you’ present to a couple who offered shelter to two Bradford School of Art students who were caught in a rainstorm when they were hitchhiking to London to see an art exhibition.
The BBC reports that Peter and Wendy Richards first met Hockney when he and a fellow student called Norman Stevens were sheltering under the eaves of their house near the A1 in Bedfordshire in 1955. The couple invited the students inside, made them tea and dried their clothes.
Hockney repaid their kindness in spades, making them a ceramic cat based on their own black and white cat, and also over the years sending them letters, drawings, and hand-made birthday cards. Mr Richards is now 93 years old, and has decided to sell the cat so that he can help his family financially.
The cat will be sold at Stacey’s Auctioneers in Chelmsford on 23 October. A spokesman for Stacey’s said: “This cat is the only one with accompanying documentation from Hockney. We believe that the Richards family-owned cat could command a higher value as possibly the artist’s first ceramic creation. It’s good karma, it’s a wonderful story.”
Hockney made six other ceramic cats during 1955; the result of his lifelong feline fascination. Another cat sculpture sold for £94,000 in June.
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