Picture Post: Holy Lotta Art: Jimmy Page's tapestry
Thursday 13 March 2008
When rock stars reach the top of their game, they are prone to making extravagant purchases. And when they've come back down to earth, there's a place for them to dispose of the swag – art auctions. Next week, The Quest for the Holy Grail: the Achievement, a tapestry by Pre-Raphaelite artist Edward Burne-Jones, will go under the hammer at Sotheby's. The masterpiece is expected to fetch £1m and its vendor is none other than Jimmy Page, guitarist in the recently reformed Led Zeppelin.
Page purchased it 30 years ago when the band's original line-up was enjoying its decadent final months. The depiction of the Arthurian knights Galahad, Bors and Percival finally getting their gauntlets on the Holy Grail probably tickled the same sensibilities that produced the more portentous moments of the album Led Zeppelin IV.
But where, one might ask, did the drug-addled Page imagine he might hang the 24ft by 8ft tapestry? Perhaps it's taken him three decades to work out that it doesn't quite fit above the headboard in the master bedroom. In fact, the silver-haired double-neck axe-wielder is extremely fond of Pre-Raphaelite painting, and has a considerable collection of similar works, including five stained-glass panels by Burne-Jones, which will also feature in the sale on 20 March.
The tapestry is the star buy in an auction of the best of 19th and 20th-century British design, organised by Sotheby's in conjunction with antiques specialist – and Lovejoy to the stars – Paul Reeves. He boasts a client list that includes Page, Bob Dylan, Barbra Streisand and Brad Pitt. Among the 130-plus lots in the Sotheby's sale will be pieces from the collection of Spandau Ballet's Gary Kemp.
The public is granted an audience at Sotheby's in Bond Street, London, from tomorrow. Head-banging or moshing will be discouraged.
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