The Original Apple Boutique Psychedelic Mural
The Dutch designers Simon Posthuma and Marijke Koger, along with artist Josje Leeger, had met Simon Hayes and Barry Finch in London and formed the Fool design collective. Pattie Harrison was familiar with them and introduced them to the Beatles who, in September 1967, gave the Fool £100,000 (equivalent to £1,931,000 in 2022) to design and stock the first outlet of a planned national chain of “Apple” shops. The Beatles business took a lease on 94 Baker Street, a Georgian townhouse dating from 1795, and the ground floor was proposed for the Apple shop despite the location being remote from the centres of fashion and design of 1960s London.
Barry Finch employed art students to paint a psychedelic style mural, designed by the Fool, across the building’s facades between 10 and 12 November 1967. The concept was borrowed from the painting of the facades of the Lord John shop in Carnaby Street, albeit executed to a figurative design with greater density and colour.
Westminster City Council had not, however, granted consent for the mural, which could have been construed as an advertisement, nor had a licence to do this been sought from the landlord, the Portman Estate. Complaints from local traders resulted in the Council issuing Apple with an enforcement notice to paint over the façade mural. In addition, the Portman Estate was prevailed upon to enforce the terms of the lease.
Between 15 and 18 May 1968 the façades were duly painted white with the word “Apple” in cursive script painted on each fascia. This transformation and shift in style from the florid “psychedelia” of the original mural to the minimalism of the “approved” scheme prefigures the contrast in record cover design between that of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band released in June 1967 and that of The Beatles to be released in November 1968.
In an interview conducted for The Beatles Anthology, George Harrison said of the artwork:
“If they’d protected it and the painted wall was there now, they would be saying, ‘Wow, look at this. We’ve got to stop it chipping off.’ But that’s just typical of the narrow minds we were trying to fight against. That’s what the whole Sixties Flower-Power thing was about: ‘Go away, you bunch of boring people.’ The whole government, the police, the public – everybody was so boring, and then suddenly people realised they could have fun. Once we were told we had to get rid of the painting, the whole thing started to lose its appeal.”
Text via Wikipedia