A PENCIL drawing believed to be the preparatory sketch of David Hockney’s famous painting, A Bigger Splash, will be showcased during the Brighouse Festival.

Brighouse businessman, Nick Yates, a keen art collector, has always been a fan of the Bradford-born artist.

“I’ve always been a Hockney fan. When I was at school he was a big hero for me,” said Mr Yates.

So, when he and a pal came across the familiar-looking framed pencil sketch while visiting an art fair in Harrogate, he had to buy it. “It is famous and it is the one you see everywhere. I thought ‘that is a Hockney sketch from his most famous painting.’”

The sketch, depicting a splash in a swimming pool in California, also features sketches on the back, a signature on the front and a cross like a kiss.

When Mr Yates took it for a new frame to the Harrison Lord Gallery in Brighouse, gallery owner Steven Lord immediately recognised the image as a preparatory sketch for the painting, A Bigger Splash. Mr Lord said: “The composition is almost identical. In the pencil sketch there is more image to the right than in the finished painting but there is clearly a fold in the paper at the point where Hockney decided to crop the image.

"On the reverse are further sketches which is typical of an artist who is playing around with ideas in a sketch book prior to committing paint to canvas. It is signed with Hockney’s rather unusual signature with a greeting so we can assume that he gave it away as a little momento.

"A further proof is that on the back of the original frame was a label for Art and Furniture which was a gallery in Chapel Wells, Manchester, which was owned by Jonathan Silver, the great friend of Hockney’s who went on to purchase Salts Mill in Saltaire.”

Mr Yates already has an original Hockney: “I am a lifelong fan of Hockney and I have a little original because he did a book signing decades ago and I said ‘could you draw me a tree?’ He sketched me a tree in this book and now, of course, he has done nothing but trees! I think he is fantastic and a breath of fresh air.”

Now he is hoping people will visit and make up their own mind before sending it off to London for a final opinion and valuation. It goes on show in the Harrison Lord Gallery in Brighouse from Saturday for a week, to coincide with the Brighouse Festival.

For more information visit harrisonlord.co.uk or call 01484 722462.#