Unpublished photographs of John Lennon, showing him relaxing at his holiday home in Ibiza, are being sold at auction today by an art student wanting to raise cash for his final degree show.
Ed Robinson has two candid shots of the late Beatles star which are set to generate a lot of interest at the Newcastle University students’ fundraiser which each year invites leading artists and celebrities to donate a piece of original artwork.
How the 23-year-old came by the unique images is quite a story, linking back to Whitley Bay in the 1970s and a friend of his uncle’s called Dale Utterson.
Dale’s dad Terry ran a chain of music shops with wife Joan and through his contacts arranged for his son to have a holiday in Ibiza where he tagged along with a group of photographers to a shoot.
Fine art student Ed, who is from Peterborough, explained: “He went on a trip to Ibiza where John Lennon had a villa and they found out he was up for posing for the photographers.
“My uncle’s friend wasn’t a professional photographer but he went along with them and he was also allowed to take a few snaps. It wasn’t a massive deal.
“John Lennon was painting at the time, which is a nice little link to the art auction.”
Dale snapped Lennon relaxing on the steps of a house. In one photograph he looks directly at the camera lens; in the other he leans over his artwork - at a time, says Ed who has done some research, that the Beatle was exploring art while his wife Yoko Ono shaped her own artistic career.
While the official photographs taken that day made the papers, Dale’s have never been published.
Ed thinks there were originally about 20 small white-bordered analogue snaps. “And there aren’t any negatives as they were destroyed in a fire. He decided to give what was left over to friends as presents.
“My uncle had three of them and gave them to my mum - his sister.”
And it’s his mother who kindly donated two for the auction, keeping one in case they find they’re worth a fortune, laughs Ed. The three images were valued for £500-£800 but how much they are worth to Lennon fans and collectors is anyone’s guess.
“Anything helps!” says Ed of The Fine Art and Postcard Auction which will raise money for the art students’ final degree show, to cover the exhibition’s advertising, artist catalogues and travel to London.
It takes place tomorrow at Hatton Gallery in Claremont Road, Newcastle, where the Lennon images will be included alongside work by art students as well as professional artists and other celebrities such as Rick Astley and The Rolling Stones’ Ronnie Wood who have both donated signed drawings. A silent auction at 5.30pm will be followed by a 7pm live auction. Onine bids can be made beforehand at www.nclauction.com