Monday, 30 December 2013

‘The Book of Taliesyn’ Deep Purple


‘The Book of Taliesyn’, record album cover for Deep Purple, 
designed by John Vernon Lord, EMI Parlophone, 1968.

Yesterday I was shuffling through old briefs that my agent Saxon Artists used to give me.
Among them was a brief from Barbara Thompson, one of the agent's reps. Saxon Artists used to have their premises at 53, New Oxford Street in London, situated above Smiths the long established umbrella shop. The brief is order number 18428 and it is dated August 30th (either 1967 or 1968).
Here is what it says:

John
Design for record sleeve "The Book of Taliesyn" the Deep Purple Group. Size 12.5 inches square (the half is overdraw). Mainly a line drawing but with touches of colour. The title to be drawn in your own style & to be fairly prominent and to go almost to the full width but don't take it to more than quarter of an inch of the edge - & then it can be repeated much smaller as often as you like in the rest of the design. Also the group's name incorporated in design. This is pure fantasy, having the theme of Arthurian Bards, minstrels, troubadours, castles - even a chess board with Arthurian figures on it - music instruments etc.

The late Jon Lord (the leader of Deep Purple) wrote to me some time ago saying that it was pure coincidence that I was commissioned to design the album cover because my name was John  Lord.  
A website claimed that I had carried out the artwork under the direction of Les Weisbrich but in truth I never met him. I presume that Les Weisbrich briefed my agent who in turn briefed me.

The fee for the design was 30 guineas - 25% to the agent. In those days, in the UK, we were always paid in guineas. One guinea = £1 and 1 shilling, equivalent today as £1 and 5 pence.

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