So it’s time for another one of my rare Art posts. This time, it’s an artist that I am all to familiar with and that’s Peter Blake. I spent a whole Summer researching the archives at Tate Britain, unearthing all sorts of newspaper clippings for my Art History dissertation. Often touted as the founder of British Pop Art (which precedes American Pop Art), he is infamous for creating the cover for The Beatles Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely hearts club band album.
Not only is the album art work one of the most iconic covers of all time, Blake was paid a one-off fee of £200. Meaning that the subsequent popularity of the record did not benefit him in any way whatsoever, so as you can imagine, it’s not his favourite of conversation topics. While I am a fan of his brightly coloured and often, collaged 60s art, I am quite fond of his later work too where he took inspiration from nature, fairytales, old masters and more traditional forms of art. I could go on, but at the end of the day, I am a sucker for a pretty watercolour and fairytales.
Girl in a Poppy Field, 1974 (screenprint on paper) Liberty Blake in a Kimono 1971 (Watercolour)
I’ve saved the real gems for this part of the post. Inspired by fairytales and a visit to the Simon Rodia Watts Tower in LA, Blake painted this image which is probably one of my all time favourite paintings by him. I’d like to have a print of this in my own house someday, where else but in the dining room?
A Mad Tea Party at Watts Tower (1968 and 1992)
Following on from the oil painting, Blake was later commissioned to paint 8 watercolours for a special edition of Alice Through the Looking Glass and What Alice Found There (1970). An edition that I would LOVE to get my hands on.
[‘and to show you I’m not proud, you may shake hands with me!’] [ ‘and the two knights sat and looked at each other without speaking’]
[‘For instance now, there’s the King’s messenger’] [Just at this moment, somehow or other, they began to run]
[So Alice picked him up very gently] [‘Well, this is grand!’ said Alice]
All images were scanned from Peter Blake: A Retrospective, 2007
Now, I feel a bit silly having to admit that I’ve never read Alice through the Looking glass, well nor the original actually. Oh man, I’ve let myself down after all this artsy talk but I’ve only ever watched Disney’s Alice in Wonderland. Um, street cred? me? I’ve never had any in the first place….