Traumatized David Hockney to Sell the House His Assistant Died In After Drinking Toxic Toilet Cleaner
Following the death of his close friend and studio assistant Dominic Elliott at the house in 2013, the artist admitted that he is too traumatized by “bad memories” to return, which leaves him with no choice but to sell the house.
In March 2013, 23-year-old Elliott died after drinking toxic toilet cleaner during a drug and alcohol binge with his partner John Fitzherbert, while Hockney was asleep in an upstairs bedroom. Fitzherbert was also previously in a long term relationship with the painter.
An inquest into Elliott’s death revealed that Hockney’s young assistant and his boyfriend had consumed large quantities of alcohol, cocaine, ecstasy, and cannabis.
According the the Daily Mail, the artist confirmed his plans to sell in an interview with the Sunday Times. “Yes, I’m almost certainly going to sell the house,” he said.
Hockney also said that he contemplated quitting art completely after his assistant died, telling the Sunday Times he “nearly gave it up.” The artist explained that he suffered from severe creative difficulties after the death, which left him unable to paint for four months (see David Hockney Takes Center Stage in Documentary and artnet News’ Top 10 Most Expensive Living British Artists).
Hockney credits his friends in Los Angeles for helping him overcome his depression and trauma.
The artist bought the house for his sister and mother. Since his mother’s death in 1999, Hockney visited the property for occasional countryside getaways. Similar properties in the region are listed at £300,000 ($471,819).
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