Lot 1
  • 1

Sir Peter Blake, R.A.

20,000 - 30,000 GBP
61,250 GBP
bidding is closed


  • Sir Peter Blake, R.A.
  • The Criminal Core
  • signed, dated 1963. and inscribed
  • pencil, ink, gouache and collage
  • 38 by 32cm.; 15 by 12½in.


John Richardson
Robert Fraser Gallery, London
Dickinson Fine Art, London, where acquired by the present owner


Bristol, City Art Gallery, Peter Blake, 17th November - 13th December 1969, cat. no.106, where lent by John Richardson.


The Sunday Times Colour Magazine, 6th October 1963, reproduced as cover;
Nathalie Rudd, Peter Blake, Tate Publishing, London, 2003, p.50, illustrated pl. no.44;
Marco Livingstone, Peter Blake, One Man Show, Lund Humphries, Aldershot, 2009, p.140, pl.140 (reproduced cover for the Sunday Times Magazine).

Catalogue Note

In the slow burn of activity that steadily built to become what we now think of as ‘The Sixties’, there are a number of significant waypoints. Seemingly small in themselves, they nevertheless mark a discernible shift in how we went about our lives. The launch in early 1962 of The Sunday Times Colour Magazine appears to be just such a point. Not only was the magazine the first of its kind in Britain, a template that would become ubiquitous, but its success made clear that the British had an appetite for this new take on life, focussing on slick visuals and aspirational features on a wide range of topics. Across food, travel, literature or just simply what was the new cool, the man behind it was Mark Boxer, previously art director of the society magazine Queen. Boxer commissioned a range of artists and photographers to work for him at The Sunday Times, and his relationship with Blake was particularly successful through the 1960s.

The Criminal Core
was Blake’s design for the October 6th 1963 issue, and packs a remarkable amount of imagery into a small space. Dividing up the area into nine small squares, each becomes almost a flash image from the movies: the broken window of a bookies, the poster of a boxer within, a ‘businessman’ in the back of his car, a dusted fingerprint, a bobby in uniform. Instantly Blake has pushed us straight into the world of the London gangsters, that curious mix of violence and menace with an undeniable touch of old-fashioned glamour exemplified by the Kray twins, immortalised for us in this same period in the 1965 publication, David Bailey’s Box of Pin-ups.