Unique John Lennon 'nonsense alphabet' for sale In 1969, Lennon wrote his own 'abecedarium', the 26 letters each with its own nonsense epithet, first seen in his erotic Bag One lithographs. Now, the unique printer's proof has emerged for auction.
Lennon, 'One Day at a Time', Fawcett writes: "... the first attempts I made to interest John in lithography met with only a vague, distant response. The technicalities of the process seemed alien to him, accustomed as he was to the spontaneity and simplicity of cartoon drawing. John had always considered basic drawing, doodling and sketching his forte, as they best suited his impulsive creative methods; he liked to translate the image from his head to the paper as rapidly as possible and with the least amount of fuss. Often his drawing, like his rhetoric, could not keep pace with his meteoric rush of ideas.
"John was slightly more enthusiastic about the project when, with the help of publisher Ed Newman and the Curwen Studio, I devised a way to shortcut the complicated procedure of working directly onto stone blocks or zinc plates. By using specially treated "litho paper", which I had sent out to his house along with an array of suitable brushes, litho ink, and crayons, John would be able to draw or paint in his usual manner. The images could later be transferred from the paper onto sensitized zinc plates by means of an advanced technical process, and the lithographs printed in the traditional way.
"Nothing was heard from John for three or four months after the materials were sent to him. I had all but given up, certain that they were lying forgotten in some dark closet. But several weeks later after John and Yoko had returned to England from their wedding and the Amsterdam Bed-In I had a phone call from Yoko. John had taken the litho paper with him, had made a series of drawings of the marriage and honeymoon, and was now anxious to see how they would look as lithographs.
"The collection of work that I later picked up from John was a veritable potpourri of paintings, ink line drawings, cartoons, and doodles. Yoko was the main subject, there were many portraits and nudes of her. There were also a few evocative ink sketches of scenes such as the wedding ceremony, the two of them walking together in Paris, and an impressionistic rendering of the Bed-In. Ed Newman and I selected four images, which when printed would give John a good indication of the versatility of the translation process from litho paper to actual lithograph.
"About this time I started to work for John and Yoko in their office at Apple. The peace campaign was in full swing and John's energy was divided among many commitments in addition to his main priorities of making music and selling peace. It took several months to just schedule a meeting for Newman to bring in the four proofed lithographs, but finally a time was arranged. Ed came into Apple and carefully laid out the prints on John and Yoko's desk. When he saw them John was ecstatic, oohing and ahhing with childlike enthusiasm, laughing, wildly gesticulating and obviously impressed at the results. He seemed thrilled