Beatles Abbey Road photos bring $281,500 to Bloomsbury Auctions

A complete set of photographs from the Beatles' iconic Abbey Road photoshoot has seen superb results at Bloomsbury Auctions.

Beatles Abbey Road cover photo
Almost every object seen in the cover shot has become famous, with the white VW Beatle now on display in Germany's Volkswagon museum

Selling on November 21 in London, the six shots were taken by Iain Macmillan, a photographer friend of John Lennon and Yoko Ono on August 8, 1969. Today, the cover shot for Abbey Road is one of the most famous music photographs ever taken.

They made £180,000 ($281,680), rising 125% past the top estimate of £80,000 following bids from several telephone bidders and one in the room.

"The original idea was conceived by Paul McCartney, he sketched out an idea of the cover for Macmillan who recreated the sketch into print," explained Sarah Wheeler, Bloomsbury Auctions' head of photographs.

"Holding up the traffic, local police gave Macmillan ten minutes to photograph the Fab Four walking back and forth across the now famous zebra crossing on the morning of 8th August 1969. The fifth of his six shots, selected by Paul McCartney, would become the album cover for the Beatles' last-recorded album and one of pop music's most famous and recreated images."

Edward Dimsdale, a senior lecturer in photographic theory at the University of the Arts, London, added: "Encapsulating a significant cultural moment, it is an image that launched a notorious conspiracy theory, and that clearly still provides a touchstone for fans.

"The opportunity to see the image in close relation to the only other frames originally shot by the photographer is undoubtedly instructive. By judgment or serendipity (or more likely a bit of both), Macmillan was able to seize upon an instant that continues to have the power to resonate, forty-five years on."

Dimsdale refers to the famous conspiracy theory that suggested Paul McCartney was dead. Shortly after the release of Abbey Road, rumours began circulating that numerous "clues" in the cover photo pointed to Paul's death, with a group of students publishing an article that investigated the claims.

Yet Paul had simply retreated to Scotland for a short while as tensions in the band grew. He parodied the famous farce in his 1993 album "Paul is Live".

See our Beatles memorabilia for sale.

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