Magazine of art press and reviews from London
Friday, 5th December 2014.
The image of Abbey Road from The Beatles homonymous album went into auction. It is one of the most famous and well known images of London and it goes under auction together with other five photos taken for the eleventh studio album of The Beatles.
On the last 21th November, the full set of six photographs was sold Dreweatts & Bloomsbury Auctions, London, owned by Stanley Gibbons. The price reached $180,000 (approximately £115k). Several telephone bidders and one room bidder competed to win the famous photo with its unused version. The winning bid was followed by a round of applause from the room.
As well as the six, Dreweatts & Bloomsbury Auctions will be selling the back cover photograph, which Macmillan initially did not like; he was annoyed that a girl in a blue dress walked through his shot.
The subjects of these six rare images are the Beatles – George, John, Paul and Ringo – walking along the road, one of these photographs became one of the most famous album covers of all time.
A friend of Lennon and Yoko, Ian MacMillan, was the photographer who took the shots, on 8th August 1969, using a Hasselblad camera, a stepladder and employing 10 minutes only. Paul McCartney picked the fifth of the six shots to be used as the album cover – the rest were discarded.
Also sold was the photo that became the back cover of the album – a road sign with a blurred person in the foreground. Macmillan was just about to take his shot when a girl in a blue dress walked into the frame, but the band liked it and chose it for the back cover.
The full set of photographs is a rarity. It will be the first time they have ever been sold as a complete set. According
to music dealers, no one has been able to find a complete set on the market for at least 10 years. Macmillan made a signed edition of 25 but most were sold individually. Having them all together as one set 46 years later is a rare opportunity.
Almost everything about the Abbey Road images is a celebrity, including the three decorators in the background and the white VW Beetle, which has ended up in the Volkswagen Museum in Wolfsburg (Germany).
The album cover has inspired innumerable reproduction and also helped to stimulate a debate about an odd plot theory that Paul McCartney was in fact dead and had been replaced by a doppelganger.
The Abbey Road photographs set went under auction on 21th November 2014, at Dreweatts & Bloomsbury Auctions, London.