Trip down memory lane for Hockney classmate

Ruth Peterson | July 27, 2019

A contemporary of internationally-renowned artist David Hockney enjoyed a trip down memory lane when she went back to the college where they studied together more than 60 years on.

Kathleen Fitzpatrick was a classmate of the now world-famous artist at Bradford Regional Art School in the 1950s, which later became part of Bradford College, having the easel next to his throughout their four years together.

“A wonderful period of my life”

On a visit to Bradford College, Kathleen looked around the £50m building named after her famous friend, which opened in 2014, and she saw the facilities enjoyed by today’s students at the Bradford School of Art.

“Being at art college was a wonderful period of my life, they were some of the happiest years of my life and it is lovely to come back and see what it is like now,” said Kathleen, who enjoyed a career as an art teacher in Bingley after graduating in 1957.

“The facilities here now are very impressive. We had a table and a few hard chairs – that was it. We had to bring our own lunches and buy all our own equipment and materials.”

Hockney’s talent “shone”

Kathleen, 82, from East Bowling, said Hockney’s talent shone from the start of the course.

“You could tell he was especially talented,” she said. “I knew he would do well although no one could have realised just how far he would go.”

Last year one of the Bradford artist’s paintings sold for a £70million, becoming the most expensive work by a living artist sold at auction. It is a far cry from the seven guineas Kathleen remembers a tutor paying for one of his large paintings during the course.

Little Kathleen’s memories

“I saw it hanging in her Georgian house at a later date and wonder what that must be worth now,” said Kathleen, who Hockney affectionately called Little Kathleen.

“David really was the life and soul of the party – charming but mischievous. All the students and staff adored him. It has been lovely to see how his career has progressed.”

About Bradford School of Art

Bradford School of Art in its current guise is part of Bradford College and offers courses and degrees in a range of creative disciplines including visual arts, photography, fashion and textiles, design, music and performance and media make-up with special effects.

Open Day

Bradford College will be holding an open day on Thursday August 22 from 11am to 2pm at its Advanced Technology Centre on Randall Well Street, Bradford. Anyone wishing to find out more about courses and how to apply is invited to attend.

Photos show Kathleen outside the David Hockney Building, with her friend Wendy Lynch and  Wendy’s partner Henry, and looking around the current art facilities at Bradford College.

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