The Fool album covers


The Fool (1968).

Many people know the work of design collective The Fool even if they couldn’t tell you the name or the names of any of the individuals involved.  The accelerated career trajectory of Dutch artists Marijke Koger and Simon Posthuma took them from a hippie enclave on the isle of Ibiza in 1966, to London and work for The Beatles throughout 1967 thanks to their distinctive brand of rainbow-hued psychedelia. Marijke Koger says the name The Fool was chosen after they met Crowley-obsessed blues singer Graham Bond who introduced them to the Tarot deck. Barry Finch and Josje Leeger later joined Koger and Posthuma. For The Beatles the group created the short-lived mural for the Apple boutique in Baker Street (removed after complaints), the decoration on John Lennon’s piano, and the inner sleeve for the Sgt Pepper album. The gatefold interior of the album was going to incorporate a Fool painting but Robert Fraser apparently persuaded the band to replace this with a group photo. The Fool themselves (and their decor) appear in the Beatles-produced feature film, Wonderwall (1968).


Proposed interior for the Sgt Pepper album (1967).

Given all this sudden visibility it’s surprising they weren’t more in demand for album cover designs although they were also busy producing florid outfits for other groups. The Beatles clothes on the All You Need is Love broadcast are Fool creations. Of the album covers, the one for The Incredible String Band is probably the most well-known. This small collection reminds me I still haven’t heard Evolution by The Hollies. The work on that cover led to a collaboration with Graham Nash on an album by The Fool (and session musicians) in 1968. The collective split up in 1969 with Marijke Koger and Simon Posthuma relocating to California.

Marijke Koger-Dunham’s site
Simon Posthuma’s site


Sgt Pepper inner sleeve.


The 5000 Spirits Or The Layers Of The Onion (1967) by The Incredible String Band.


Evolution (1967) by The Hollies. Clothes and design by The Fool, photo by Karl Ferris.


Picknick (1967) by Boudewijn De Groot.


Move (1968) by The Move.

Elsewhere on { feuilleton }
The album covers archive

Previously on { feuilleton }
Through the Wonderwall

Weekend links 102


Flannery O’Connor with one of her many peacocks.

When the peacock has presented his back, the spectator will usually begin to walk around him to get a front view; but the peacock will continue to turn so that no front view is possible. The thing to do then is to stand still and wait until it pleases him to turn. When it suits him, the peacock will face you. Then you will see in a green-bronze arch around him a galaxy of gazing haloed suns. This is the moment when most people are silent.

Flannery O’Connor

Essay of the week was without a doubt Living with a Peacock by the great Flannery O’Connor, originally published in Holiday magazine in September 1961. I’d heard about Flannery’s peacocks before but had no idea she was such a pavonomane. Thanks to Jay for the tip!

• “‘He’s chameleon, comedian, Corinthian and caricature.’ But he was more like the very hungry caterpillar, munching his way through every musical influence he came across…” Thomas Jones reviews two new books about David Bowie for the LRB.

• In June Mute Records release The Lost Tapes by Can, a 3-CD collection. Here’s hoping this doesn’t merely repeat the outtakes that’ve been circulating for years as the Canobits bootlegs. This extract is certainly new.

• Animator Suzan Pitt, director of the remarkable Asparagus (1979), discusses her new film, Visitation, inspired, she says, by reading HP Lovecraft in a cabin while wolves howled outside.

Night Thoughts: The Surreal Life of the Poet David Gascoyne, a biography by Robert Fraser reviewed by Iain Sinclair.


The Dangerous Desire (1936) by Richard Oelze (1900–1980) at But Does It Float.

• Making the Mari: the stuff of nightmares brought into the world by Jefferson Brassfield.

• The Background to the Moorcock Multiverse: Karin L. Kross reviews London Peculiar.

Orson Welles’s lost Heart of Darkness screenplay performed for the first time.

The Erotic Films of Peter de Rome: the new BFI DVD collection reviewed.

• Page designs by Alphonse Mucha for Ilsée, Princess de Tripoli (1897).

• A Slow-Books Manifesto by Maura Kelly.

Tim Parks asks “Do we need stories?”.

Musical table by Kyouei Design.

Horror Asparagus Stories (1966) by The Driving Stupid | Peacock Lady (1971) by Shelagh McDonald | Peacock Tail (2005) by Boards of Canada.

Richard Hamilton, 1922–2011


The Beatles aka The White Album (1968) by The Beatles. Design by Richard Hamilton.

Hamilton admires Hunger but he has little time for the other Young British Artists. He can’t imagine a conversation with Tracey Emin lasting more than five minutes – too tedious! – and though he was quite interested in Hirst’s sharks, his paintings bore him half to death. He believes that this generation is “ignorant… they have no understanding of art history. [Their work] is a waste of time. So much of what they’re doing has already been done, and not only by Duchamp, even. You think: you’re 50 years too late, mate.” Don’t even get him started on Sarah Lucas and her antics with cigarettes.

Richard Hamilton: A masterclass from the father of pop art

A few words to note the passing of British artist Richard Hamilton whose death was announced this week. I’ve retained an affection for Hamilton’s work over the years for a couple of reasons. As the creator of the 1956 collage Just What is it that Makes Today’s Homes So Different, So Appealing? he inadvertently gave a name to the emerging Pop Art movement with which he was to be indelibly connected, and I’ve written a few times here about my teenage enthusiasm for Pop Art and Surrealism. Hamilton’s work was more familiar to me at the age of 13 than that of many other artists. I responded to the immediacy of Pop Art even though it was over by the 1970s, just as I responded to the inherent weirdness of Surrealism which at that time was back in fashion. On my first visit to London in the mid-70s I rushed to the Tate Gallery (as Tate Britain was then known) to see some of the paintings and sculptures I’d been reading about in art books, and it was one of Hamilton’s works that stood out on that first visit, Swingeing London 67 (f), his painting of Mick Jagger’s drug arrest which I knew from photos although I hadn’t seen it in colour before. Most surprising—and something which reproductions still don’t quite convey—was seeing the pieces of metal stuck onto the canvas to form the handcuffs on the wrists of Jagger and Robert Fraser. It was already a shock that day being in one of the world’s major art galleries; it was even more of a shock to see this painting whose metal elements gave it a vivid presence beyond the pictorial surface as though it was caught halfway between painting and sculpture. It’s a presence which brings to the fore the “aura” which Walter Benjamin discusses in The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction (1936), an atmosphere possessed by an original work which will always be absent from a reproduction.

Another work I was fascinated by that day was the 1966 version of Marcel Duchamp’s The Bride Stripped Bare by Her Bachelors, Even (aka The Large Glass) which Hamilton had meticulously copied from the original at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Hamilton made copies of a number of Duchamp’s works with the artist’s permission, and while his painting of Mick Jagger may have its own substantial aura, his Duchamp copy also has an aura of its own despite being a reproduction. What would Walter have made of that, I wonder? Duchamp is the first conceptual artist, and some trace of his inspiration can be found in Hamilton’s design two years later for The White Album, the 1968 release by The Beatles whose blank sleeve with its embossed name and unique serial number made it the first conceptual album cover. Hamilton has never received the same credit for this as Peter Blake receives for his Sgt. Pepper sleeve. On the packaging for the recent White Album CD acknowledgement was given to the designers who put the reissue together but the only mention of Hamilton was in the tiny list of thanks from the original printing. It’s a small detail from a long career but we can at least remember his contribution to music history today.

Guardian obituary | Richard Hamilton in pictures | Richard Hamilton’s altered images