David Hockney Has Created His Largest Painting Ever—a 314-Foot Frieze Inspired by His Year in Lockdown

May 11, 2022

For many, the lockdowns of 2020, however unwelcome, were a chance to contemplate their everyday surroundings and discover a newfound appreciation for nature.

David Hockney, who spent the year at his house in Normandy, took the opportunity to watch and record the changing seasons on his iPad.

He has now printed and stitched together all 220 pictures into one continuous frieze that, at 314 feet long, is his biggest work to date. A Year in Normandie is on view for the first time in the U.K., in the attic space of Salts Mill in Saltaire near Bradford, West Yorkshire. 

The work’s form was inspired by a Chinese scroll painting that Hockney saw in 1983 at the Metropolitan Museum in New York. Recalling the occasion, he described how it was about 98 feet long “and was displayed for me in a private room. It was one of the most exciting days of my life.”

The location of Normandy, where the artist has lived since 2019, also brought to mind the Bayeux Tapestry, with its dramatic scenes of the Norman Conquest. Hockney said that he hopes “the viewer… will walk past [his work] like the Bayeux Tapestry, and I hope they will experience in one picture the year in Normandy.”

“A Year in Normandie” is on display until September 18, 2022. See images of the installation below.

David Hockney, A Year in Normandie (2020-2021) (detail). Composite iPad painting. © David Hockney

David Hockney, A Year in Normandie (2020-2021) (detail). Composite iPad painting. © David Hockney

David Hockney, A Year in Normandie (2020-2021) (detail). Composite iPad painting. © David Hockney

David Hockney’s biggest ever picture, A Year In Normandie at Salts Mill, Saltaire, West Yorkshire. The artwork joins to gather some of the 220 iPad works Hockney created throughout 2020. Picture by Lorne Campbell.