Over the gate...

Designed in 1913 by Victorian/Edwardian/other architect Theophilus A Allen; John Lennon's house between 1964 and 1968; sunroom, attic and prisco stripe hibernice; Mellotron and caravan; Babidji and Mimi; mortar and pestle; Wubbleyoo Dubbleyoo; curios and curiosity; remnants and residue; testimonials and traces; (Cavendish Avenue, Sunny Heights and Kinfauns); Montagu Square; mock Tudor: Brown House: *KENWOOD*.

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Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Kenwood: more living room.

Another original 1913 feature which has survived is the external entrance to the ground floor living room. In 1968 it was out of use, being covered by a bench (or half a bench - or half a bed, or whatever it was). The other door that can be seen in the black and white pic leads through to the den:

The area was captured in the 1968 Austrian film, as well as Joe Baiardi's video from 2008:

As we have seen, when John & Yoko moved back into Kenwood at the end of November 1968, the living room was transformed into a storage space for their various art exhibits - including those from the Half-A-Wind Show at the Lisson Gallery in 1967. John's contribution to that had been the Air Bottles, in which the other halves of the exhibits were stored "conceptually". Paper labels bore the name of the half-a-whatever it happened to be:

The bottles sat on the window shelf/seat in the living room at Kenwood, again an area captured on film in '68 and '08:

Incidentally, not many of the exhibits from that particular show survived the moves from Surrey to Berkshire to the upper west side, though one that did is the following, if looking a little careworn these days:


  1. I have an interesting one would say "hand-me-down" from my sister, who met John Lennon and Yoko Ono at this period, she was an assistant at the Robert Fraser Gallery in London, when it was around. She ended up working for an American Bank by the start of the seventies. She obtained what can only be described as a bottle, it does not contain anything, and she said that it apparently never did when John Lennon handed it to her. It did not have a label unfortunately either. I understand looking at this blog that it does look extremely similar to the ones pictured here. John apparently mentioned something to her about .."keeping his mind in it", to which my sister was amused. I don't know if it's of any interest to anyone. She unfortunately passed away from an illness a few years ago and I still have the said vessel. What do you think I could do? I may send a photograph of it to an auction house with a link to this blog page? If I am allowed? I can describe it as closely as possible, the bottle is about 7" tall, wide bottom with flat bas, stubby neck, and looks similar or may well be a milk 1 pint bottle from the 1960s and early 70s? Anyway, I thought that I would get an answer from here? I don't think it was used in the exhibition, but from what I recall, my sister and family were very bemused by the mere fact that a Beatle had given my sister a milk bottle at the time, claiming it was art!


  2. Hello Joyce,

    Any of the big auction houses would be interested in that e.g Christie's, who reglularly have auctions specialising in music memorabilia. Obviously, the more authentication you can provide, the higher the potential value. Do you have anything proving that your sister worked for Robert Fraser (letters, photos etc?). If so, send copies when you get in touch with them. (I'd be interested in seeing a photo of it too - kenwoodlennon@googlemail.com). Good luck!

  3. Hi Kenwoodlennon,
    Thank you for the reply, I was considering Christies. I have some sad news though. I was cleaning the bottle yesterday, having taken it out of the shoe box that it had been stored in for the past decades, wrapped in the yellowing linen sheets that it had been stored in by my late sister; having examined it further, and gently cleaning it with with a lightly damp piece of tissue, I revolved the bottle to study the underside, and my cat jumped onto the kitchen surface adjacent to my sink; this gave my some fright and I unfortunateky dropped the bottle onto our tiled terrcota floor tiles! The bottle has smashed into nine large shards. I am very upset, and feel that I will never replace this object, given the fact that my poor sister had kept it for so long, and the connection to John Lennon of The Beatles. I can not bear to inform my other family members, and had decided to store the broken pieces back in the shoebox. I cried so much last night. It's unreplacable, and the sentimental value of this bottle is extraordinary. I wish I had never been so clumsy, and I hope that my sister & John Lennon whereever they are can forgive me?

    Love Joyce

  4. Well, that's felines for you. Unfortunate, certainly, but to be honest, if you were to get it put back together professionally, which is quite possible, I don't think it would affect the value that much. Apart from the sentimental value that it has to you, any monetary value resides in the association with John, and not in the object itself. So it's not as bad as it might appear!

  5. Interesting that it broke into nine pieces considering John's fascination with the number 9.