Limited Edition Mr. Kite Letterpress Print

Rolling Stone magazine has described it as “simply stunning”, the V&A Museum have it in their permanent collection and Paul McCartney already owns one.

We are big fans of the analogue production values of the traditional letter press printing process. We are delighted to offer a handmade letterpress print by artist Peter Dean of the poster that inspired ‘Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite!’, the song that closes side one of The Beatles’ 1967 album, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.

In late January 1967, during a break in filming the promotional video for ‘Strawberry Fields Forever’ in Sevenoaks, Kent, John Lennon popped into a local antiques shop. Inside, he bought a Victorian poster for Pablo Fanque’s Circus Royal, which he hung in his music room. While later working on the Sgt. Pepper album, he and Paul McCartney were inspired by the poster and wrote the song ‘Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite!’. John Lennon said that the lyrics were staring him right in the face — and he hardly needed to make up a word.

Artist and Beatles fan Peter Dean searched high and low for a copy of Lennon’s poster to put on his wall. He struggled to find anything more than a poor reproduction of the poster and so he did what any self respecting artist would do — he decided to recreate it from scratch. He has done a magnificent job.

No stone was left unturned in the process of recreating the poster.

First, Peter determined the size of the original based on John’s height, using a photograph where John is standing next to it. As luck would have it, one corner of the poster is visible in a colour photograph — confirming that it was indeed a black and white poster.

The original illustrations were printed from wood imprints–a rare skill–and so Peter contacted renowned engraver Andy English. Wood engraving is a delicate process that has not changed in hundreds of years. It is breathtaking how much care is taken with every single mark. As Andy worked on the engraving process, Peter made contact with Graham Bignell at New North Press who had an incredible collection of Victorian wooden and metal type. Graham dedicated endless hours to matching every type face and every type size on the poster while other parts had to be custom-made. This was a process that could no be rushed.

They made dozens of proofs and hundreds of adjustments until finally the print came to life and was just like the 1843 original. Every effort has undeniably gone into making this poster as true to the original as possible, making it the perfect gift for a Beatles fan. The album on which the song featured was released in 1967, and the print has been made in a limited edition of 1,967.

Would you like to order one? The link to ordering an unframed or framed example is below.

‘Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite’ Letterpress Print
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