Auction News

Beatle-wife Pattie sells George and Clapton love letters 


George Harrison and Patti Boyd at Kinfauns in March 1965
Image courtesy of Christie's

Beatle wife Pattie Boyd is selling personal items at auction next month. The collection includes letters illuminating the most famous love triangle in rock history as Eric Clapton tried to persuade the wife of his close friend George Harrison to leave the Beatle for him.

Boyd (born in Taunton, Somerset in 1944) was the inspiration for several Harrison-written Beatle songs, including Something, I Need You, and If I Needed Someone To Love.

Among the songs Clapton wrote for her are Layla and Wonderful Tonight. 

She is now selling 111 items through Christie’s. Bidding opens online from March 8 and the sale closes on March 22. 

La Fille au Bouquet is for sale, it is in millions of homes as the cover image of the Derek and the Dominoes album Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs. Image courtesy of Christie’s.

The original painting – La Fille au Bouquet (Girl with bouquet) by Émile-Théodore Frandsen de Shomberg – from the cover of Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs by Clapton’s group Derek and the Dominoes is the star item. 

Clapton bought the painting because he thought its subject looked like Pattie. Pattie left Harrison for Clapton, who then gave the painting to Harrison, who subsequently gave it to Pattie. 

It goes to sale with an estimate of £40,000 to £60,000. 

Handwritten song lyrics from Harrison’s Mystical One (not recorded until 1982) are also going under the hammer. Their estimate of £30,000 to £50,000 will undoubtedly tempt many buyers. 

Letters (often addressed to Layla, the name Clapton gave Boyd) tell the story of a legendary three-way relationship.

The earliest, from Clapton to Pattie, is from 1970. A telegram from him reads simply: “Does your silence mean be gone?” 

Letters from Harrison and hand-made cards from both musicians to her are also featured among the lots.

Among clothing for sale are pieces designed by The Fool, the psychedelic collective most associated with The Beatles early Apple projects.

Original drawings by Harrison, Clapton and Ginger Baker, photographs (including Beatles pictures) and personal effects are also for sale. John Lennon contributed to one sketch of the Harrison’s home.

George Harrison with Pattie Boyd during his famous trip to Haight-Ashbury in San Francisco in 1967.

Pattie Boyd met George Harrison on the set of A Hard Day’s Night in 1964.

A model, she had been cast as one of the band’s teenage fans, and is in scenes including the performance of I Should Have Known Better on board a train.

She married Harrison in 1966 and left him in 1974. She married Clapton, who had been infatuated with her since meeting her through his close friend Harrison in 1968, in 1979. They were divorced in 1989. 

She worked as a model and photographer. Many of the pictures in the sale were taken by her. Some are by Harrison.

Boyd says she has Clapton’s permission to sell the personal letters and has taken from them everything she needs. 

She told Christie’s: “I thought, ‘Do I need them? Do I need to keep going into Pandora’s Box?’ I’ve enjoyed them for many, many years, and now it’s time for other people to see and enjoy them. It’s only right I should pass them on.”

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