British (23 June 1940 – 10 April 1962)
Stuart Fergusson Victor Sutcliffe was born in Edinburgh, Scotland in 1940, an acclaimed artist best known as the original bass guitarist of The Beatles. Stuart (Stu) Sutcliffe is often referred to as the fifth Beatle although he left the band to pursue his career as a painter, having previously attended the Liverpool College of Art with John Lennon. On leaving The Beatles he moved to Germany to continue his studies at the Hamburg State School of Art.
Although Stuart was involved in the early days of The Beatles, even coming up with the name with John Lennon, there were until now no known artworks of “The Beatles” produced by Stuart. The newly discovered images of The Beatles that are visible within The Beatles Tree artwork means that this is probably the rarest and most important work by Stuart.
John Lennon and Stuart Sutcliffe were inseparable at the time that The Beatles Tree artwork was created, and maybe, as this was an exam piece, Stuart chose to “hide” the caricature images of John and himself within the artwork? Possibly as his way of showing off his skills to John.
Stuart also included a small caricature of Paul McCartney's face within the artwork and the headstock of what is believed to be John Lennon’s 1958 Rickenbacker 325 Capri guitar. John and Stuart’s heads are shown next to each other as large faces looking down from the branches of the tree. Conversely, Paul is shown as a diminutive head positioned where the branches emerge from the top of the trunk. Is there a hidden meaning behind the size and the positioning of the heads? Maybe Stuart felt that although his relationship with John was incredibly strong he could see his friendship tested by the growing musical relationship between Lennon and McCartney and the fact that he was considering leaving The Beatles to move to Hamburg? We will never know for sure as very sadly Stuart died from a brain aneurysm in Hamburg at the age of 22.
Stuart Sutcliffe's Beatles Tree artwork is available for purchase from ourselves. If you would like further information or you require additional images then please do not hesitate to contact us and we will be happy to provide these on request.
Pricing is available on request by selecting one of the artwork thumbnails and clicking ENQUIRE