When I was preparing an exhibition of Peter Blake’s record cover art at Piteå Museum in northern Sweden in 2009, I realised that Peter Blake had all but taken over responsibility for the design of the Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album cover. I wondered how his ex-wife and co-designer Jann Haworth felt about this and contacted her and we began a correspondence. She acknowledged that she has been marginalised. In 2017 the BBC published an interview with her entitled Jann Haworth: The forgotten creator of the Sgt. Pepper cover. we discussed the inequalities that appeared in retrospect about the characters featured on the cover. Why were there so few people representing ethnic minorities, so few women? Obviously, the cover was a product of its time and these questions were only being formulated in the sixties. Jann, now living in Salt Lake City, Utah, U.S.A., has since tried to address this and has produced a large mural called SLC Pepper.
Haworth has also produced a seven-panel womens’ mural that has been shown in various locations around the world.
During a more recent exchange of emails, Jann told me she had been searching for news of Joe Ephgrave, the artist who painted the Sgt. Pepper drum. He had been a friend of hers and Jann had one of his paintings, of a tiger, on her wall back in the sixties. I asked Jann if she had designed any other covers after the Sgt. Pepper cover. She had not done any covers for real records but in 2017 had taken Joe’s tiger design and produced a painting in the form of a record sleeve.
She had made two copies, one in Salt Lake City and the other in Denver, Colorado. And, realising I wouldn’t be able to get one of these, I decided to make my own. First I downloaded the cover picture and sized it in Photoshop and printed it on supersized A3 paper. Then using graphite paper traced the design onto a sheet of wellpap.
Then using acrylic paints I finished my version of the cover picture. However, I had a problem with the record label, which proved much more difficult to copy accurately. I mentioned this to Jann and she kindly helped me by mailing me the design.
This saved me an enormous amount of work! making the wellpap “record” took some time and then calculating the size of the label was tricky. Finally, my copy was ready.
This “artwork” is an homage to both Jann Haworth and to Joe Ephgrave. Perhaps not as professional as Jann’s original, but made with gratitude and in the knowledge that it’s unique.