John Lennon’s psychedelic pool mosaic heads to auction

A piece of John Lennon’s artistic legacy is about to go up for auction. At the heart of Bonhams ‘Rock, Pop & Film’ sale on 29 November is the iconic ‘Psychedelic Eye’ mosaic, commissioned by the musician in 1965. The work is estimated to fetch up to six figures.


In 1964, John Lennon and his then-wife Cynthia purchased a mansion in St George’s Hill in Kenwood, Surrey, UK.

For the outdoor pool, Lennon commissioned a massive 17,000-tile mosaic of an eye that would gaze up from the wall of the deep-end, and create a psychedelic effect.

Likely designed by Lennon himself, the 1965 commission was created by Joseph Ritrovato, the master tiler who also installed it.

The Kenwood home was sold in 1968 after the couple’s divorce, but the hallucinatory mosaic would remain in the pool until 1984, when it was removed from the pool wall for preservation by the owners of Kenwood at the time. The following year, the panel went on public view at the International Garden Festival at the Royal Festival Gardens in Liverpool. It remained on site at the gardens until 2002, before its current owners acquired it in 2011.

Now, almost six decades on from its installation, the piece will hit the block at Bonhams on 29 November, with an estimate the auction house has characterized as “a six-figure sum.”

“This monumental mosaic is a striking example of the Beatle’s artistic vision and influences,” said Claire Tole-Moir, Bonhams’ Head of Popular Culture in London, in a statement. “Lennon’s Kenwood home in the English countryside was a respite from all the public attention he experienced during the height of The Beatles’ popularity. Lennon would spend idle hours near the swimming pool and the mosaic could even be seen from his favoured ‘sunroom’ at the top of the house.”

She added: “With Kenwood still under private ownership, it is rare to see anything from when John Lennon lived there, making the ‘Psychedelic Eye’ mosaic a significant artefact of Beatles history.”

Bonhams’ ‘Rock, Pop & Film’ sale takes place on 29 November at London’s Knightsbridge.

Additional sources • Bonhams

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