Jungle boy, etching and aquatint by David Hockney, 1964, on show in Willoughby Gerrish’s exhibition.

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Dealer Willoughby Gerrish kicked off his exhibition of early works on paper by David Hockney, staged in a brand new Yorkshire gallery, with a beer and pizza night.

“We're very keen to get young people, young families in North Yorkshire
to see art," he says. "They might not purchase a Hockney but this is one way to open art up to a different group of viewers.”

The show comprises etchings, lithographs and screenprints including early signed proof prints, as well as a few drawings at the newly opened Gallery One at Thirsk Hall.

It comprises loan works and some for sale, from £250-50,000, from the collection of London St James’s firm Gerrish Fine Art, run by Willoughby’s brother and sister.

A life less ordinary

The show represent 15 years of the Hockney’s life, from his time at the Royal College of Art to his first trips to New York and Los Angeles and his first coloured prints.

They reflect themes central to the artist, from his homosexuality (see Cleanliness is next to godliness, which features a photo lifted from a pornographic magazine) to his art historical inspirations, seen particularly in the 1961-63 reimagining of Hogarth’s A Rake’s Progress.

Gallery One and the Hockney show are Gerrish’s latest ventures at Thirsk Hall. Last year he opened a sculpture park on the grounds which attracted 3000 visitors. This year he is gunning for more in a bid to make Thirsk a cultural capital in the north.

The town “punches above its size”, Gerrish says, offering visitors a 12th century church and The World of James Herriot as well as a cultural festival in August at the hall. The exhibition runs until October 22, coinciding with the festival. Also organised by Gerrish in the hall’s new Orangery gallery is an exhibition devoted to young Contemporary artist Jon Kipps.

He hopes that it will bring in local visitors as well as those from further afield, mentioning that it is a two and a quarter hour rail journey from King’s Cross – ideal for a day or weekend trip.