The Harrison Family Collection:
Lots 300 to 313 are all items given by George Harrison to his brother, Harry, and other members of his family. The collection dates from the 1960s and 1970s and three items, in particular, represent important stages in George's career as one of the leading rock musicians of the 20th Century.
Firstly, a black leather jacket comes from the period when the newly-named, and little-known, Beatles honed their skills in the clubs of Hamburg and Merseyside. The many hours they spent onstage, from the latter half of 1960 through to 1962, helped hone their musical skills and transformed them into a group poised on the brink of unimagined international fame. Acquired in Hamburg, George wore this jacket both on and offstage and it appears in many of the photographs taken of the group in those formative years.
Early in 1962, manager Brian Espstein managed to persuade the group that the only way to progress in the music business was to 'smarten' themselves up, both in their choice of wardrobe and conduct onstage. Out went the leather jackets and trousers and rather sober, tailored suits became the new image. Following the group's phenomenal rise to stardom in 1963, their new look of Pierre Cardin-inspired suits with collarless jackets, worn with black Chelsea boots, widely influenced the clothing adopted by the teenagers of the day. The pair of 'Beatle' boots included in this collection are from the time when Beatlemania was at it height and, whilst various suits worn by the Beatles in 1963-1964 have been preserved, a pair of boots from this period are a rare survivor.
After the Beatles broke up in 1970, George embarked on a new stage in his life as a solo artist. He got off to a flying start with the release, in 1971, of several hit singles and the triple-album 'All Things Must Pass'. This year also saw him, along with Ravi Shankar, organising the Concert For Bangladesh, the first rock concert staged to raise funds for humanitarian causes. Since the mid-1960s, George had become deeply interested in Eastern religion and music and this was his response to the suffering of the people of Bangladesh caused by both a devastating tropical cyclone and the effects of civil war. The Concert For Bangladesh was held at New York's Madison Square Garden and an orange shirt identical to that worn by George onstage is another highlight of the sale. Made by Nudie's of Hollywood, suppliers of Western-style clothing to the stars, the shirt bears a label with George's name and features the Hindu 'Om' symbol, to match those on the white suit George also wore for the concert.
Other items in the collection reflect daily life as a Beatle, including demo recordings, Fan Club records given away at Christmas, a camera to record the madness surrounding the group from an insider's perspective and publicity photographs signed by George and with signatures of the other Beatles forged by him in an effort to keep up with the overwhelming demand for autographs. George Harrison/The Beatles: A pair of George Harrison's signature 'Beatle' boots,
black leather, calf-length with zip fastening, each inscribed inside in blue and red ballpoints Mr George 2062, left sole indistinctly stamped 8
Provenance: The Harrison Family Collection.
The Beatles' image that was to become indelibly etched on the world in 1963/64 married collarless jackets and Chelsea boots. The footwear became so synonymous with the group that they were popularly re-named the 'Beatle' boot. According to Bill Harry in 'The Beatles Encyclopedia' (Virgin Publishing Ltd., 2000) John and Paul were in London on their way back to Liverpool after a holiday in Paris in October 1961 when they saw some Chelsea boots in the window of shoemakers Anello & Davide, Charing Cross Road. Much taken with the elastic-sided, pointed toe and Cuban-heeled boots, they each bought a pair, followed soon after by George and Pete. The photograph as illustrated in the catalogue shows George wearing similar pairs of Beatles boots.
The influence of the Beatles 'look' that was to emerge a few years later was recorded in photographer Terence Spencer's images of queues of teenaged boys outside Anello & Davide and a row of them inside trying on the 'Beatle' boots. ('It Was Thirty Years Go Today', Bloomsbury Publishing Ltd., 1994).