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Ann-Marie Powell

Do you know the history of this rare autographed Robert Plant Sketch/Print!!!

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Hi there,

I wonder if you could help me find out a little more about the image below of Robert Plant from 1984. My late sister in law was a HUGE fan, and since she passed away suddenly and unexpectedly last year, we never got the chance to ask the history of the attached. 

It's a BIG limited edition print measuring 82 cms x 61 cms

It's signed by Robert Plant "To Tony - broad shoulders....smart moves. Love Robert" (she was called Clare, so not sure who Tony might be)??

It's super hard to read the artist's signature, I've attached a close up of this in case it helps, and it also shows that this was 4/10 in the print run.

If you could shed any light on this at all, I'm sure my partner would love to hear.

A long shot I know, but I thought it worth an ask.

Huge thank you for your time, and I'd love to hear from you

.IMG_2723.thumb.jpeg.15291201a4a6d9effc21053d3837fd11.jpegIMG_2724.thumb.jpeg.ccafd9b946d5de4f0da21763e1cf9e19.jpegIMG_2725.thumb.jpeg.79ae41eca51f57b0c6673cd7f779ecc4.jpegIMG_2726.thumb.jpeg.db01dd3871620772a5a147895cea259b.jpegIMG_2727.thumb.jpeg.ed02d1dce0c18babe46067976e3173c0.jpeg

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Posted (edited)

This is an interesting drawing. Looks like some elements of Shaken 'n Stirred artwork, but as that wasn't released until 1985, it could be done by someone who worked on the album art in 1984?

Edited by zeplz71

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Posted (edited)
4 hours ago, Ann-Marie Powell said:

Hi there,

I wonder if you could help me find out a little more about the image below of Robert Plant from 1984. My late sister in law was a HUGE fan, and since she passed away suddenly and unexpectedly last year, we never got the chance to ask the history of the attached. 

It's a BIG limited edition print measuring 82 cms x 61 cms

It's signed by Robert Plant "To Tony - broad shoulders....smart moves. Love Robert" (she was called Clare, so not sure who Tony might be)??

It's super hard to read the artist's signature, I've attached a close up of this in case it helps, and it also shows that this was 4/10 in the print run.

If you could shed any light on this at all, I'm sure my partner would love to hear.

A long shot I know, but I thought it worth an ask. Huge thank you for your time, and I'd love to hear from you

Very nice item. For starters, can you tell me whereabouts Clare may have resided in 1984? Additionally, do you know if she was subscribed to or directly involved with any of the Led Zeppelin fanzines at the time? FEATHERS IN THE WIND or THE ROBERT PLANT INTERNATIONAL FAN CLUB NEWSLETTER in particular? I'm asking these questions for a reason.

3 hours ago, zeplz71 said:

This is an interesting drawing. Looks like some elements of Shaken 'n Stirred artwork, but as that wasn't released until 1985, it could be done by someone who worked on the album art in 1984?

Some similarities perhaps but this is clearly an independent effort. Besides, going from memory, Tim Elloch produced the album graphics for Shaken 'n Stirred, not this David (illegible).

Edited by SteveAJones

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I believe the artist is David Oxtoby.

David Oxtoby is a British artist known for his paintings and prints of rock-and-roll celebrities, such as Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, Elton John, and the Beatles. However, he is most famous for his renderings of his idol Elvis Presley, who the artist depicted in a series of painting and color etchings. He is tied to the Pop Art movement, and his work is similar in style and style to other British Pop artists like David Hockney and Norman Stevens. However, what set Oxtoby apart was his bold use of color and negative space, as seen in Jagger and Elvis. Born on January 23, 1938 in Horsforth, United Kingdom, he went on to study at the Bradford College of Art. During the mid-1960s he taught at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts and the Maidstone College of Art, before settling in London. His works are in the collections of the Victoria & Albert Museum in London, the National Portrait Gallery in London, and the British Museum in London, among others. Oxtoby lives and works in London, UK.

 

David Oxtoby was born in Horsforth, Yorkshire, in 1938. He studied initially in Bradford, then moved to the Royal Academy from 1960-64, during which period he had six solo exhibitions. He joined the Redfern Gallery, London, in 1964 and exhibited there regularly until 1981.

 

Oxtoby’s subjects are his childhood heroes—the Americans who redefined the terms of popular music in the 1950s. He has attempted to communicate through painting the emotion and excitement he felt when hearing these performers for the first time. He specialises in photographically-derived paintings, drawings, collages and etchings; capturing the energy, violence and colourful style of the music that formed the soundtrack to his life.

 

At art school in Bradford, Oxtoby was a contemporary of David Hockney, who remains a good friend, but before furthering his studies as a painter in London he worked for three years in various other jobs.  These included not only manual labour but also work as a freelance commercial artist and spells as a scene-painter in the theatre. Whilst working, he also designed and painted murals around Yorkshire with David Hockney and Norman Stevens. When he started at the Royal Academy Schools, he lived with David Hockney, John Loker, and Peter Kaye in London, before moving in with Mick Vaughan in Tooting Bec.

 

From 1961 to 1963, Oxtoby was represented in the RA Students’ Exhibitions and received a substantial amount in special prize monies for his work. In the Spring of 1964, he flew to New York for the opening of his first American solo exhibition in Madison Avenue, after which he was offered the post of Visiting Professor of Painting at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, USA, which he held from 1964 to 1965. 

 

In the late 1960s and early 1970s, having spent almost a decade mixing with musicians and celebrities in hedonistic social circles, he succumbed to ill health, and was ultimately diagnosed with diabetes. Whilst in hospital, he was encouraged to take up etching by Norman Stevens, during which time he engraved over forty plates. His prints were the subject of a retrospective at the British Museum, London, in 2016.

 

Leaving the Redfern Gallery and withdrawing from society in the 1980s, Oxtoby began working towards freeing his overly conscientious applications of the 1970s. Initially working with Indian Ink on brown paper, he rejected this medium in favour of vibrant paintings. These were worked and reworked, eventually culminating in two not-for-sale trial museum exhibitions, both of which he was dissatisfied with. Since this period, he has been reluctant to exhibit his work.

 

Oxtoby’s recent works are much more personal than any of his earlier music-orientated visual renditions, yet seem all-encompassing descriptions of a complete musical era, reflecting the birth, growth and maturing sounds of rock and soul. His pieces have always captured something beyond mere physical representation—something of the sound and the life of his subjects that mirrors his vision of his musical heroes. Their strong colours represent sound for him, their volume seeping out of jagged, confident lines.

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Wow, thank you so much for your replies - so kind of you to take the time.

I think you're right SteveAJones, David Oxtoby definitely MUST be the artist.

You asked if Clare was a member of FEATHERS IN THE WIND or THE ROBERT PLANT INTERNATIONAL FAN CLUB NEWSLETTER - I don't think she would have been - she would have been in her mid to late teens in the mid eighties.

So very interesting to read your posts - my partner is delighted, as I am to know more about the picture.

Now, I only wish I could work out who Tony might be.

No matter, for now it is so wonderful to be enlightened.

Thank you.

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, Ann-Marie Powell said:

Now, I only wish I could work out who Tony might be.

That answer may never be known for certain, but I'll offer some conjecture for consideration. "Tony" is most likely a friend of David Oxtoby, as he (David) was relatively reclusive at the time. David was known for socializing with musicians, so it's quite possible "Tony" was a musician. Now take into consideration Robert signed it with a physical description of "Tony", added the word "Love" and signed only his first name, suggesting "Tony" was known on a personal level by Robert as well. Who fits this description? I suggest it is possibly drummer Tony Thompson, who did work with Robert in Summer 1985 and again in January 1986. He's broad-shouldered and the "smarth moves" may be a reference to his penchant for collaborating with a number of high-profile artists around this time (Madonna, etc). Mind you, that it is Tony Thompson is purely speculation on my part.

Another Tony did come to mind. He was a male vocalist who sung and associated with Julie Welch of Feathers in the Wind, an American Led Zeppelin fanzine. Julie met Robert several times in the 1980s and so I immediately thought of him. However, given Oxtoby was UK-based and reclusive, I doubt very much it is this Tony.

It seems Clare was just a teenager at the time, so it's unlikely she obtained this artwork first hand. If she did reside in the UK, I wonder if this is something she may have inherited or been given by a friend. If she was a collector, I presume it's something she may have acquired through an auction (possibly Tony Thompson's estate). Anyway, just some pure conjecture on my part for consideration.  

tony-thompson.jpg

Picture 13.png

Edited by SteveAJones

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