Lot 33
  • 33

Sir Peter Blake R.A. & Jann Haworth

50,000 - 80,000 GBP
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  • Sir Peter Blake R.A. & Jann Haworth
  • Insert for Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
  • signed, dated Mar 1968 and inscribed For M.J. from Peter and Jann
  • collage
  • 30 by 30cm.; 11¾ by 11¾in.


Acquired directly from the Artists in March 1968


Newcastle, Walker Art Gallery, The Art of the Beatles, 8th May - 30th September 1984, where lent by Colin St John Wilson;
Manchester, Whitworth Art Gallery, British Design in the Sixties, 3rd October - 6th December 1986, where lent by Colin St John Wilson;
Chichester, Pallant House Gallery, Highlights of the Wilson Collection, 1st October 1999 - 9th January 2000, where lent by Colin St John Wilson;
Chichester, Pallant House Gallery, Best of British II: The Art of Drawing and Painting, 24th January - 19th March 2000, where lent by Colin St John Wilson;
Chichester, Pallant House Gallery, 26th March 2007 - September 2008, on long-term loan from the Wilson Collection;
Falmouth, Falmouth Art Gallery, Treasures of the Wilson Collection, 8th November 2008 - 7th February 2009, where lent from the Wilson Collection;
Edinburgh, Royal Scottish Academy, Royal Scottish Academy 186th Annual Exhibition, 28th April - 6th June 2012, where lent from the Wilson Collection;
Chichester, Pallant House Gallery, Peter Blake & Pop Music, 23rd June - 7th October 2012, where lent from Wilson Collection.


The present condition report has been prepared by Jane McAusland FIIC, Conservator and Restorer of Art on paper; Nether Hall Barn, Old Newton, Nr. Stowmarket, Suffold, IP14 4PP.Support:This collage is supported by a green paper board which is attached at the back to the overlay of the mount. The board is over-mounted at the edges.The condition of the structure is good. All slight imperfections, in my opinion, are the artist's. Two small fox-marks are evident on the dedication.Medium:The condition of the collage is good, though the green board has faded, the original darker green showing under the overlay of the mount.Viewed outside studio conditions.Housed behind glass in a thin varnished wooden frame and set within a grey-brown and cream mount. The mount itself has instances of slight staining, and may benefit from being replaced.Please telephone the department on +44 (0) 207 293 6424 if you have any questions regarding the present lot.
"This lot is offered for sale subject to Sotheby's Conditions of Business, which are available on request and printed in Sotheby's sale catalogues. The independent reports contained in this document are provided for prospective bidders' information only and without warranty by Sotheby's or the Seller."

Catalogue Note

So may I introduce to you
The act you’ve known for all these years,
Sgt.Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band

On the evening of 30th March 1967, The Beatles arrived at Michael Cooper’s photographic studio where Peter Blake and Jann Haworth had spent the previous fortnight constructing the elaborate set that would become famous across the globe as the cover for the band’s forthcoming album, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. Over the next three hours, this icon of pop came together, fusing McCartney’s original concept of a fictional band with the vision that Blake and Haworth had created. Over forty years later, it seems impossible to imagine the album without the art.

It could have all been so different.

Blake had in fact joined the project relatively late. The band had started recording in November 1966 and over the next 129 days the sessions unfolded that would become the final album. A cover had already been produced by The Fool, a design co-operative whose psychedelic style was totally au courant (the rejected painting was taken home by John and remains in the Lennon Estate). However, Robert Fraser, Blake’s dealer and friend to the rock aristocracy, suggested to McCartney that perhaps they should use an artist instead. As the concept behind the album already existed, Paul and John spent time with Blake discussing the feel they were looking for and so the imagery evolved. Blake was already deeply influenced by folk art, Victoriana and collage, and had been creating backstories for his fictional wrestlers, strippers and other subjects for years, so the creation of an image, style and indeed character for Sgt.Pepper was a perfect match and completely in tune with the time. The marvellously titled boutique I Was Lord Kitchener’s Valet had opened on Portobello Road the previous year (it had been a stall in the market since 1964), selling antique mess jackets and other military ephemera and had quickly become part of the look of the time, numbering Stones, Beatles and Hendrix amongst their punters. The marvellously moustachioed Sgt.Pepper, as we see him here, looks as though he could be their poster boy.

Whilst the album cover image featured The Beatles surrounded by a host of cut-out figures of famous faces (many of them suggested by John and Paul and including even the Madame Tussaud’s dummies of the boys themselves in their Fab Four years) to suggest a crowd around the band after a concert, there was more to behold. One of the first records to feature a gatefold sleeve, it also included a pull out sheet featuring the famous Sgt.Pepper himself, and offering fans the chance to cut out a variety of items, including badges, a moustache, sergeant’s stripes and a free-standing desktop image of the band. It seems that the original thought was to make these real items attached to the sheet, but even for the world’s most popular music stars, the logistics proved too expensive.

When the album was released on 1st June 1967, it was recognised as a landmark of its time, perhaps the first time popular music had created a unified entity, where music, story, image, studio expertise and overall ambience had blossomed together to make something that Kenneth Tynan described in The Times as ‘a decisive moment in Western Civilisation’ (unreferenced quote in Ian Macdonald, Revolution in The Head: The Beatles’ Records and the Sixties, Vintage, London 2008 p.249). Referenced, lampooned, edited, subverted, the Blake/Haworth cover image of Sgt.Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band has become an iconic image of its time, but because it was a photographic record of a studio set, its existence is only now as that image, not as a tangible object. Yet all the while, a real piece of Sgt.Pepper did exist. If you want to own a slice of rock history, a real reminder of the heady days of 1967 when everything seemed possible, now’s your chance.

The following work has been requested by The Lowry, Salford, to be included in their forthcoming exhibition tour Peter Blake and Pop Music, from November 2012 to February 2013.