Hockney’s anger at hacking of Woldgate tree stump

The felled and vandalised tree stump in Woldgate.
The felled and vandalised tree stump in Woldgate.

BRIDLINGTON’S most famous resident has spoken of his anger after a tree stump featured in some of his most famous paintings was hacked down.

David Hockney’s Totem Tree, a 12ft stump at Woldgate, was sprayed with red paint in October and has now been hacked down – something Hockney believes is a “mean-spirited gesture”.

The tree stump has appeared in a number of Hockney’s paintings, including Winter Timber, from 2009, which was part of his record breaking Royal Academy exhibition A Bigger Picture – which featured paintings from a number of sites around Bridlington.

Speaking to the Guardian newspaper, Mr Hockney, 75, said: “It is something that has made me depressed. It was just a spite. There are loads of very mean things here now in Britain.”

He said that for someone to cut down the stump “was just an unbelievably mean-spirited gesture”.

The 12-foot tree stump is thought to have been cut down by a chainsaw at night around a fortnight ago.

“It was something I rather enjoyed,” continued Hockney.

“It had been cut down a while back because it was dead but I liked the way it was and I said to the landowners: ‘Leave it that way’ and they did, and then somebody else comes along with a big saw. It must have taken two hours to do.”

A spokesperson for East Riding of Yorkshire Council confirmed that they had not removed the stump, as it sat on private land.

The tree formed part of the Hockney Trail - a walk which highlights places of interest for the artists’s fans – allowing them to visit the area to enjoy the scenery and landscapes that have been an inspiration for Hockney.

Hockney has now created several sketches of the stump since he discovered it had been cut down upon his return to Britain from Cologne, where his exhibition is currently displayed.

Gary Verity, of tourist body Welcome to Yorkshire, said he was “disappointed” to see the Totem Tree had been felled.