“Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite” Letterpress Print
Published on January 12, 2013
This is a reproduction of the poster that inspired John Lennon to write the song Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite!, which appeared on The Beatles’ 1967 albumSgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. It is printed in a limited edition of 1,967.
Lennon bought the poster in an antiques shop and hung it in his music room. While writing for Sgt. Pepper one day, he drew inspiration from the quirky, old-fashioned language and set the words to music.
Every effort has been made to be true to the original poster and it is printed using the same methods that would have been used in 1843. Every single print in this limited edition is individually inked and hand-pulled on a vintage Albion press. After drying, it is numbered by hand, in pencil at the lower right in the form #/1967. Each print also comes with a hand-signed certificate of authenticity.
Printed on archival-quality paper and featuring two wood-engravings by renowned artist Andy English, this reproduction is a not only a beautiful letterpress print in its own right, but a unique and fascinating item of Beatles memorabilia. Properly cared-for, it should last at least as long as John Lennon’s original copy – and who knows where yours will end up 125 years from now!
Earlier 2012, Andy English was contacted about a very singular project – to recreate the engravings from a Victorian circus poster. This in itself wasn’t all that interesting. He was an engraver for hire and he offered a wide variety of work. What made this fascinating was the fact that this was the poster that inspired John Lennon to write the song “For The Benefit of Mister Kite” that was on the Beatles’ “Sergeant Pepper” album. These images would have been printed from “stock” blocks in the printer’s workshop. They probably didn’t even belong together and may have been trimmed to match. One way or another there was a lot of “noise” in the images that they had. The blocks would have been old, possible mistreated, inked and printed hastily and then they were looking at copies of copies of the original.
He spent a long time looking at the images, comparing them with other Victorian circus illustrations that he could find. He started to make drawings and comparing notes with Peter, who had commissioned the work.
After much discussion and many drawings, he started to mark out the designs on to two lemonwood engrain woodblocks, pick up my tools and start to engrave the images.