The Rolling Stones: Original album cover artwork by Robert Brownjohn for 'Let It Bleed', 1969,
Lot 238*
The Rolling Stones: Original album cover artwork by Robert Brownjohn for 'Let It Bleed', 1969,
£30,000 - 40,000
US$ 50,000 - 67,000
amended
Auction Details
The Rolling Stones: Original album cover artwork by Robert Brownjohn for 'Let It Bleed' The Rolling Stones: Original album cover artwork by Robert Brownjohn for 'Let It Bleed' The Rolling Stones: Original album cover artwork by Robert Brownjohn for 'Let It Bleed', 1969, The Rolling Stones: Original album cover artwork by Robert Brownjohn for 'Let It Bleed', 1969, The Rolling Stones: Original album cover artwork by Robert Brownjohn for 'Let It Bleed', 1969, The Rolling Stones: Original album cover artwork by Robert Brownjohn for 'Let It Bleed' The Rolling Stones: Original album cover artwork by Robert Brownjohn for 'Let It Bleed', 1969,
Lot Details
The Rolling Stones: Original album cover artwork by Robert Brownjohn for 'Let It Bleed',
1969,
comprising: two felt pen concept sketches on envelopes, together with two colour positives and two colour negatives of the final front and back covers; a US pressing of the album; a photo of Keith and Mick checking the cover proofs; five British postage stamps featuring the cover; and a copy of 'Keith Richards: Satisfaction', by Christopher Sandford, Carroll & Graf, 2004, the sketches each 20 x 25cm (8 x 9¾in)

Footnotes

  • December 2011 is the 42nd anniversary of the release of the Rolling Stones' album 'Let It Bleed'. Recorded at Olympic Studios in London over a period of some months, it was released in the UK on 5th December 1969 and went to No.1 in the album chart and No. 3 in the US. The album was also critically acclaimed and features on many 'Best...' and 'Greatest...' lists and polls. It was the last album that Brian Jones worked on and the first to feature his replacement, Mick Taylor.

    In 1969, Keith Richards commissioned his close friend Robert Brownjohn to design the now-iconic album cover for 'Let It Bleed'. In 'Keith Richards: Satisfaction', it is recorded that Keith, after leaving art school in 1962, took his portfolio around several of the top London designers, including Robert Brownjohn.

    The cover displays a surreal sculpture made by Brownjohn. It consists of the 'Let It Bleed' record being being played with an old-style phonogram arm, which is fitted with a tall automatic changer spindle supporting a number of items (instead of records) that include: a dinner plate with a magnetic tape/film reel cannister, a clock face, a pizza, a bicycle tyre, and cake with garish icing and the band itself in the form of wedding cake-style topping figures. The cake was made by then unknown celebrity chef Delia Smith. She was instructed by Brownjohn to create a cake and she has recalled that '...They wanted it to be very over-the-top and as gaudy as I could make it.'

    The back cover was the same 'record' stack, but now in disarray as if in the aftermath of a wild party - possibly a metaphor for the end of the 1960s? The Brownjohn sculpture was inspired by the working title of the album, 'Automatic Changer'. (See Bill Wyman, 'Rolling With The Stones', Dorling Kindersley, 2002, p.357. On the same page is a quote from Rolling Stone magazine, which described the cover as '...The crummiest cover art since 'Flowers'!)

    The album cover was one of ten chosen by the Royal Mail for inclusion in its set of Classic Album Covers stamps, issued in January 2010. 'Let It Bleed' is widely thought of as one of the best Stones' albums and the cover has been named as one of the greatest album covers of all time. In 2005 the album was inducted into the Grammy Hall Of Fame.

    Robert Brownjohn (1925-1970) was born in New Jersey and became a graphic designer, working in Chicago and New York before moving to London. In 1963, Harry Saltzman commissioned Brownjohn to design the title sequence for the second Bond film, 'From Russia With Love'. This, and the subsequent 'Goldfinger' used the technique of projecting moving images onto the bodies of models and filming the projections. This technique originated with the Bauhaus movement and it seemed to fit perfectly into the burgeoning 'Swinging Sixties' style. Brownjohn also designed the British poster featuring Sean Connery and Honor Blackman and the gold-painted model, Margaret Nolan.

    Brownjohn's work is represented in the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art in New York and this cover art featured in the Robert Brownjohn exhibition at the Design Museum London in 2005/2006.

Saleroom notices

  • Please note: The colour positives and negatives in this lot each measure 20 x 25.5cm (8 x 10in)
Activities
Lot symbols
Contacts
  1. Stephanie Connell
    Specialist - Entertainment Memorabilia
    Bonhams
    Work
    Montpelier Street
    London, SW7 1HH
    United Kingdom
    Work +44 20 7393 3844
    FaxFax: +44 20 7393 3873