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The Only Way To Fly

The Hermit Painting

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Does anyone know what happened to the painting after it was used for the cover of Zeppelin IV? I've heard that Plant picked up the painting in Bath, but was just wondering what ever happened to it, who has it, & if there have been any photo's of it outside of the album's cover?

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I've heard that Plant picked up the painting in Bath

According to Jimmy, he and Robert found the image strictly by chance: "I used to spend a lot of time going to junk shops looking for things that other people might have missed. Robert was on a search with me one time, and we went to this place in Reading (not far from Jimmy's boathouse in Pangbourne) where things were just piled up on one another. Robert found the picture of the old man with the sticks and suggested that we work it into our cover somehow. So we decided to contrast the modern skyscraper on the back with the old man with the sticks - you see the destruction of the old, and the new coming forward."

Personally I'm not convinced that story is true. I still suspect Jimmy may have commissioned an artist to paint it - if he did not paint it himself - just as he did for the inside album cover art. The figure on the cover bears a striking resemblance to a preeminent occult figure, George Pickingill.

"The cover was supposed to be something that was for other people to savour rather than for me to actually spell everything out, which would make the whole thing rather disappointing on that level of your own personal adventure into the music." -- Jimmy Page

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hermit.jpg

Pamela Colman Smith also worked as a book illustrator but her other work is overshadowed completely by the popularity of the Rider-Waite cards. Her design for The Hermit was famously borrowed by Crowley obsessive Jimmy Page in 1971 for an inner sleeve illustration, View in Half or Varying Light by Barrington Colby, for Led Zeppelin IV.

http://www.johncoulthart.com/feuilleton/2009/07/11/the-art-of-pamela-colman-smith-1878%E2%80%931951/

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I would also love to know what happened to it.

It's weird that no one ever came forward to claim they produced the painting or knew who did.

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I also suspect that Page commissioned an artist to paint it, if he didn't paint it himself.

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According to Jimmy, he and Robert found the image strictly by chance: "I used to spend a lot of time going to junk shops looking for things that other people might have missed. Robert was on a search with me one time, and we went to this place in Reading (not far from Jimmy's boathouse in Pangbourne) where things were just piled up on one another. Robert found the picture of the old man with the sticks and suggested that we work it into our cover somehow. So we decided to contrast the modern skyscraper on the back with the old man with the sticks - you see the destruction of the old, and the new coming forward."

Personally I'm not convinced that story is true. I still suspect Jimmy may have commissioned an artist to paint it - if he did not paint it himself - just as he did for the inside album cover art. The figure on the cover bears a striking resemblance to a preeminent occult figure, George Pickingill.

"The cover was supposed to be something that was for other people to savour rather than for me to actually spell everything out, which would make the whole thing rather disappointing on that level of your own personal adventure into the music." -- Jimmy Page

You may be right. But this begs the question: Why would Page lie about something so innocuous? Most bands commissioned artists to design their album covers.

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