Great album art and strange stories

Way back in the hippy days of the sixties a monster of an album burst forth on an unsuspecting world in 1968. Robert Fripp, a guitarist of no small talent and a penchant for originality, had put together a new and unusual group fronted by a singer called Greg Lake who was destined to go on to dizzy heights later with ELP. The lyrics for the first album were oddly enough by someone who wasn’t in the band and whose own singing abilities (to be kind) were less than wonderful. But as a poet he was way ahead – reading the words to 21st Century Schizoid Man and then reading the newspapers today it is hard not to think of him as some kind of prophet. But we’re here to talk about art so here are both the outside cover and inside cover of ‘In The Court Of The Crimson King’ painted by Barry Godber –

Front cover for Court of the Crimson King by King Crimson

Inside cover for Court of the Crimson King by King Crimson

The front is the schizoid man and the inside is the Crimson King with his jolly smile and very sad eyes. The artist Barry Godber was in fact a computer technician who the lyricist Pete Sinfield knew. In fact, he was the only artist he knew so the choice of who to ask was easy! Sadly, Barry Godber barely survived to see his artwork printed on the cover as he died in 1970 from a heart-attack at the tragically young age of 24. The cover and the album went on to become hugely venerated icons of art and music name-checked as influences countless times over the years. The raw emotion portrayed in the front cover and the way that the face is almost bursting out of the frame of the cover attracted many people to the album even if they hadn’t heard a single note of it. Strangely enough, given his tragic early death, the painting was based on a distorted reflection of the artist’s own face. The album itself was remastered for the final time in 2003 when they finally found the original master tapes, which is a bit like finally remembering you left the Rembrandt down in the cellar :-)

Black Sabbath cover - first Black Sabbath album

From painting to photography. The first Black Sabbath album has this classic photo on it. The place is Mapledurham Watermill but the odd thing is that nobody knows who the woman was who modelled for the cover. Bit spooky eh? Not so spooky was the record company cashing in on the satanist hype in the media by putting a reversed cross on the inside cover much to the annoyance of the band who actually weren’t satanists. Made on a shoestring budget in a a couple of days it turned out to be one of the most influencial albums ever made. The title track is probably almost single-handedly responsible for the births of the genres of heavy metal and goth music. So now you know who to blame … or praise :-)

Ed Org IN PERSON :-)

Sadly it emerges that Ed Org is not capable of bi-location and has not been cloned. Mind you, with a few more of him running around producing those amazing works of art (and identically!) it wouldn’t be so special (and possibly a bit creepy too :-( ). So; on the downside it means he won’t be at both places and a friend of his will be running his stall at one of the events on the duplicate dates. On the upside it means he is still unique! :-)

…… finally here is what he says –

“I will be in person at Ludlow Medieval fair (24/25 Nov) and Knebworth (8/9 Dec)”

So; if you want to meet the great Ed Org go along with all your clones and ENJOY :-)

If you have no idea who he is or want to buy prints then click here.


  • It is best to use only 100% acid free museum standard materials with a pH factor of 7.5 to 8.3 for any mounts or hinges that come into contact with the artwork. In the USA the term matt is used instead of mount where mountboard is a backing board only.
  • Wood pulp mountboard is not acid-free which means it can discolour the board or paper the artwork has been printed on. Mountboard should at least have an acid-free backing in contact with the print but the inner edge of the mount will discolour over time. It is best to use removable acid free hinges attached from the back of the print to the back of the mountboard but failing this use only a low tack masking tape.
  • Prints on a lighter stock should be only attached at the top of the mount and allowed to hang free. This should stop any creasing around the edges due to changes in environmental conditions. The alternative is to have them dry-mounted or fixed to a self-adhesive board (see other articles to follow).
  • It best to use a small craftsman for the framing rather than high street shops that tend to be more expensive and of a lower quality generally speaking. These can usually be found by trawling through the smaller adds in your phone book or craft magazines. Wherever you go you’ll find the attitude of a real craftsman is different. They will take the time to examine the print and select the appropriate colour of mountboard and frame to complement the colours in the image. If you are there then you should find them keen to discuss these options with you. The basic approach is to look at the main background colour of the image and work with that but this is not always the best solution. Brightly coloured images like fantasy and sci-fi art images can sometimes benefit from a more creative approach to the use of coloured mounts. Black and cream are always an option for the mount but have certain drawbacks. Black will tend to make an image look more stark so it can entirely ruin a subtle picture … like a print of a watercolour painting perhaps. Cream can tend to be bland, bringing out the yellow tones a little but that’s all. Generally, with bold images darker mounts work better than lighter ones.
  • Artists UK can supply your prints bought at Artists UK mounted and framed using high grade generic plexiglass which has the advantages of being lighter, practically unbreakable and more resistant to UV radiation than glass. We do not generally recommend the use of non-reflective glass as this is not completely clear and tends to dull the image, especially when it is mounted and therefore not flat against the glass (which of course is one reason for mounting anyway – to keep the print away from contact with the glass where humidity might cause it to stick to the glass in the long-term).
  • Over the years prints can still be damaged by poor environmental conditions even when well-framed so it is best to air-condition or dehumidify any room that has dampness or is prone to excessive water vapours (hanging quality prints in bathrooms is to be avoided at all costs!). Very low humidity is also to be avoided as is siting the print directly over a radiator or other heat source.
  • Flourescent lighting and sunlight have harmful UV rays so it is best to keep even light-fast ink printed Limited Editions away from these and prints printed without these inks (practically all those published before the mid-nineties and some later ones) will fade.
  • If the artist has signed in ink rather than pencil then this can be prone to fading so keep it out of direct sunlight.
  • Never use any cleaning materials on the surface of the print.
  • If there is any form of damage, staining or discolouring at any time then seek professional assistance rather than trying to correct it yourself.

Following these guidelines should help to ensure that your Limited Edition print stays in good condition, provides pleasure for many years and possibly becomes a very good investment for you.

Any questions, then email us from the Contact Us button on the link below or write a comment we can reply to.

Ed Org dates

As promised, here are artist Ed Org’s dates for the rest of this year. He is doing two places on some weekends. He has not confirmed yet whether he has gained a yogic power to bi-locate or is going to be at one fair one day and at another on the other day or parts of each day or whether someone else is running one of the stalls for him. Or maybe he is actually twins with the same name or has been recently cloned. All will be revealed in the fulness of time and when we know we’ll let you know … :-)

Nov 17/18 Broadlands, Nr Romsey, Hampshire.

Nov 24/25 Ludlow Medieval Fayre, Ludlow Castle, Shropshire.

Nov 24/25 Loseley House Crafts for Xmas, Loseley Park, Compton, Guildford, Surrey.

Dec 1/2 Marlborough Xmas Fair, Marlborough Town Hall, High St, Wilts.

Dec 8/9 Knebworth Xmas Show, Knebworth House, Herts.

Dec 8/9 Caerphilly Medieval Fayre, Caerphilly Castle, S.Wales.

Dec 22 Xmas Dorchester, Dorchester Town Hall, Dorset.

Ed Org prints can be purchased here.

Art and Music

The link between art and music is very strong, probably more like a marriage really, especially where the production of an album is concerned. In the field of popular music and particularly with those bands who employed top artists to design their covers the end of the vinyl era meant the end of large packaging for albums and much of the artwork that looked so impressive on a gatefold vinyl album measuring some 12″ x 24″ didn’t look quite so impressive on the cassette or CD format. The tiny cassette format especially did no favours to sweeping majestic artwork.

When you think that artists like the legendary Roger Dean paint on huge canvases it really doesn’t seem as if art came off very well in the marriage does it? If you get to see a poster of his work (like one of those here for instance) then you’ll see what I mean. It is good to see that bands still use great artists for their album covers though. The work done by Dave McKean for instance is remarkable. Check out the Paradise Lost album covers he did – ‘Shades of God’ and ‘Draconian Times’ are particularly good examples of his work in this genre.

The problem of course is that for many bands the budget for the album cover is no longer as high as it used to be but given the talent out there it should still be possible to get a stunning cover even within a reasonable budget. The great thing about using the big names is, of course, the fact that people will recognise the work because they have seen it around so much. This can be very useful for tapping into a particular target market. No doubt Paradise Lost were well aware of Dave McKean’s work for Neil Gaiman’s Sandman series and well aware that the readers of that series would be in their target market. If they weren’t, it was indeed a lucky accident … :-)

Maybe we will have a trawl back over the years before long and recommend some awesome album art … and maybe some awesome songs too!

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