A psychedelic painting created as the original album artwork for The Beatles classic Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band is up for sale at Sotheby’s.
The unused artwork, by Dutch art collective The Fool, is expected to sell for more than $100,000 during an online auction which begins this week.
The sleeve for the 1967 album is amongst the most famous in music history – but it could originally have looked very different.
The iconic cover, filled with cardboard cut-outs of historical and famous figures, was created by artist Sir Peter Blake and his wife Jann Haworth, using an original concept sketch by Paul McCartney.
The album was also the first rock record to feature the lyrics to every song on the reverse of the sleeve.
But the band decided to release the album with a gatefold sleeve, giving them twice the space of a conventional LP, and commissioned a Dutch art collective known as ‘The Fool’ to create the central artwork.
The fantasy landscape painting is now expected to sell at Sotheby’s for $77,500 – $116,500
“…The Beatles’ roadie, Mal Evans, brought John and Paul to our studio in St Stephen’s Gardens,” said Marijke Koger, one of the founding members of the group.beatles
“They had seen my Saville Theatre programme cover for Hendrix and The Who and were intrigued by the artwork. They blew their minds over the ‘Wonderwall’ Simon [Posthuma] and I had painted in 1966 on an armoire in polychrome psychedelic imagery, as well as others paintings and artwork.”
‘The Fool’ created a vivid dreamscape filled with flowing water, towering mountains, green foliage and colourful birds such as parrots and peacocks, all surrounding a blazing sunset.
However, the style of the artwork didn’t sit well with Blake’s cover, or the faux-Edwardian imagery McCartney had originally envisioned, and in the end the band rejected the painting.