On turning 80, David Hockney sought out rustic tranquillity for the first time: a place to watch the sunset and the changing seasons; a place to enjoy simple pleasures, undisturbed and undistracted: "We have lost touch with nature rather foolishly as we are a part of it, not outside it". So when Covid-19 and lockdown struck, it made little difference to life at the centuries-old Normandy farmhouse where he had set up a studio the previous year, in time to paint the arrival of spring. In fact, he relished the enforced isolation. His book affirms the capacity of art to divert and inspire, based on a wealth of conversations and correspondence with Martin Gayford, his long-time collaborator. Their exchanges are illustrated by a selection of Hockney’s new Normandy drawings and paintings, many previously unpublished. Martin Gayford is art critic of The Spectator. His books include A History of Pictures (with David Hockney) and Shaping the World: Sculpture from Pre-History to Now (with Antony Gormley).