Lot 4020: Beatles Set of (5) Prints
17th August 2017
Highly appealing set of five color 'outtake' prints for the cover of the Beatles album Abbey Road. Originally taken by Scottish photographer Iain Macmillan, each print measures 6.5 x 6.5, and shows five unused images of the band walking on the Abbey Road zebra crossing, with Macmillan signing the top center print in black felt tip. Although outwardly similar, with the consistent lineup of Lennon leading and Harrison trailing, the images differ in various subtle ways, including: road traffic, stepping pattern, frame symmetry, and distance between members; additionally, McCartney switches between wearing sandals and walking barefoot. Also included is an original 6.5 x 6.5 print of Macmillan's image for the Abbey Road back cover, which famously shows a girl in a blue dress accidentally walking through the shot. Double-cloth-matted and framed to an overall size of 28.75 x 23. In overall fine condition. Accompanied by a letter of provenance from the original owner, in part: "While visiting Liverpool…we saw a banner announcing a celebration of art celebrating the Beatles by various artists…Of course we went in and among the various painting and sculptures there were photos of the Beatles crossing Abbey Road by the photographer Iain Macmillan, next to the photos was a small ledger that could be signed to indicate interest…I suddenly got a call from the photographer asking if I would like to buy copies of the photos…and a month or so later these pictures came in the mail." Also accompanied by the original signed letter from Macmillan, regarding interest in the prints, dated May 29, 1987, in part: "The prints are now available and are of superb quality, being made on a new generation of paper, and are from the original transparencies…I will sign print no 6 in black ink on the zebra crossing…It is a condition of purchase that the enclosed Terms of Sale Agreement is completed and returned with payment." Additional accompaniments include: the referenced and signed Terms of Sale Agreement, dated August 10, 1987; a compliments card signed and inscribed to the owner in black ink by Macmillan; a color photo of The Art of the Beatles Exhibition at the Walker Art Gallery, with artwork pricing sheet; and a letter from the Merseyside County Council, dated August 20, 1984. On the morning of August 8, 1969, Macmillan, a friend of John Lennon and Yoko Ono, met the Beatles outside of EMI Studios to photograph the Abbey Road album cover. Following instructions sketched by Paul McCartney, Macmillan climbed a stepladder placed in the middle of the street and, with a hired police officer halting traffic, snapped six photos of the Fab Four, with the fifth photo taken—the band's legs in ideal formation and a shoeless McCartney holding a cigarette—ultimately used for the cover. A rare and remarkable visual display representing the creation of Abbey Road's iconic cover art.
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