Robert Brownjohn’s artwork for the Rolling Stones’ 1969 album Let it Bleed goes on sale at Bonhams auction house next month with an estimate of £30-£40,000
The lot includes “two felt pen concept sketches on envelopes [shown above], 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”. It will be included in Bonhams’ Entertainment Memorabilia sale on December 15 in London (details here).
Keith Richards asked Brownjohn to work on the sleeve – the pair were friends at the time. The working title of the album was ‘Automatic Changer’, hence Brownjohn’s approach referencing the way that old-fashioned record players allowed users to pile up records so that they played one after the other as they each dropped down in turn.
But instead of records, Brownjohn stacked up a dinner plate with a magnetic tape/film reel cannister, a clock face, a pizza and a bicycle tyre. This little lot was topped off by a garish cake made, trivia fans have delighted in informing us over the years, by a young Delia Smith.
Here Mick and Keef examine a running sheet of the sleeve artwork
The Let it Bleed lot will be the second major recent sale of Stones-related design: in 2008 the V&A bought the artwork for John Pasche’s lips logo for $92,500. Just goes to show it pays to keep hold of those drawings.