Rock Muse Pattie Boyd Is Selling a Trove of Photos, Love Letters, Artwork and More

The model and photographer famously inspired songs like George Harrison's 'Something' and Eric Clapton's 'Layla.'

Woman and man stand in front of rose bush
Pattie Boyd and George Harrison pictured at their Surrey home in 1968. Courtesy Christie's

Model and photographer Pattie Boyd, one of rock and roll’s most recognizable muses, is famous less for her role in defining fashion’s iconic mid-sixties look than for her high-profile marriages to George Harrison and Eric Clapton. It comes as no surprise, then, that her upcoming auction with Christie's consists of mementos, letters and photographs that offer insider insight into music history and her relationships with the two musicians.

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Selling her treasured memorabilia has been cathartic for Boyd, who will offer up more than 100 items at Christie’s between March 8 and March 22. “I thought ‘Do I need them? Do I need to keep going into Pandora’s Box?’ I’ve enjoyed them for many, many years, and now it’s time for other people to see and enjoy them,” she told the auction house. “It’s only right I should pass them on.”

Boyd was working as a model in London when she was tapped for a small role in the 1964 Beatles’ film A Hard Day’s Night; she first met Harrison on set. She had a boyfriend at the time, but left him soon after Harrison asked her out. Two years later, the couple were married, and Boyd served as the inspiration for Harrison’s famed 1969 ballad Something.

A series of photographs from the duo’s honeymoon in Barbados is in the Christie’s sale with an estimate of between £2,000 ($2,559) and £3,000 ($3,838). Boyd is also offering up Harrison’s handwritten lyrics for the 1982 song Mystical One, which are expected to fetch between £30,000 ($38,380) and £50,000 ($63,966), and a 1971 love letter from the Beatle that could realize upwards of £10,000 ($12,793).

Harrison’s bandmates also feature heavily in Boyd’s collection, which includes a nonsensical letter from John Lennon and his drawing of Boyd and Harrison’s living room in Surrey, which has a high estimate of £25,000 ($31,983). Boyd’s photographs of the Beatles during their historic stay at the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi’s ashram in Rishikesh, India, taken in 1968, are also in the sale.

Letter pictured below envelope
A love letter written by Eric Clapton in 1970. Courtesy Christie's

Boyd’s memories of a musical love triangle

Harrison was close friends with fellow musician Eric Clapton, who for years held a torch for Boyd. He expressed his feelings in two 1970 letters, one of which reads: “I am writing this note to you, with the main purpose of ascertaining your feelings towards a subject well known to both of us.” Boyd initially assumed the note was from a fan—even showing it to Harrison—until Clapton called to ask if she’d received his message. Both letters are expected to sell for between £10,000 ($12,793) and £15,000 ($19,190).

His unrequited love for Boyd was the theme of the song Layla, which the musician named after a 12th-century Persian story about unattainable romance. The cover art for the 1970 album Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs was inspired by a 1950s painting, artist Emile Théodore Frandsen de Schomberg’s La Jeune Fille au Bouquet, which depicts a blonde woman Clapton believed resembled Boyd.

The painting, which is for sale with an estimate of between £40,000 ($51,172) and £60,000 ($76,759), passed through the love triangle’s hands as their relationships evolved. Originally acquired by Clapton in 1970, the musician gifted the art to Harrison a few years later when Boyd left the Beatle for him. Harrison, meanwhile, returned the favor to Boyd a decade later when her relationship with Clapton ended. The painting has hung in Boyd’s Sussex cottage in the decades since.

Abstract painting of blonde woman
The original artwork used for the cover of Derek and the Dominos 1970 Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs. Courtesy Christie's

Other mementos of Boyd and Clapton’s relationship include a 1980 apology card from the guitarist and a batch of gifted jewelry, including a Rolex and a silver pendant with respective high estimates of £4,000 ($5,117) and £3,000 ($3,838). Boyd is also selling a psychedelic minidress and chinoiserie brocade ensemble by The Fool Collective, which both have estimates in the region of £1,000 ($1,279).

Boyd’s collection will be available to view at Christie’s London headquarters between March 15 and March 21. “Pattie Boyd’s extraordinary life and career chart some of the key moments of the cultural revolution that changed the world in the 1960s,” said Adrian Hume-Sayer, director of private & iconic collections and head of sale for Christie’s London, in a statement. “This auction offers collectors, fans and enthusiasts an unparalleled chance to see and own a piece of cultural history—everyone is welcome.”

Rock Muse Pattie Boyd Is Selling a Trove of Photos, Love Letters, Artwork and More