Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Kinfauns, 1965-1969

Above photo features the fireplace mantle painted by artist collective "The Fool" who also painted the psychedelic "Apple" store building before it was repainted white.

These photos were taken in 1967-8 at George's house, Kinfauns-- a bungalow at 16 Claremont Drive, Esher, Surrey, England, on the Claremont Estate.  I love how those old estates were such cultural landmarks they had their own names.  The Beatles during this time (with the exception of Paul who was always the London bachelor) were newlywed rockstars living in the dreary "stockbroker belt" of real estate in England in supposed domestic bliss.  John in particular always resented living in this suburban humdrum--- never being much of a family man at this time-- and felt at odds with his upper crust neighbors who always looked down at entertainment/celebs as lower class trash undeserving of their new-found money.  

George Harrison bought Kinfauns for £20,000 on 17 July 1964, on the advice of Dr. Walter Strach, the Beatles' accountant. Going house-shopping, he said later, "It was the first one I saw, and I thought, that'll do." He was joined there months later by wife-to-be Pattie Boyd, who married him in 1966. Because Ringo, George, and John lived in close proximity to one another they would often be at each other's house, playing with their elaborate toys (go-karts and large scale toy trains) in their giant mansions.  Aside from Paul McCartney's house at 7 Cavendish Avenue in St. John's Wood, Kinfauns was probably the home the Beatles gathered at most, as it was only a short drive from the homes of John Lennon (Kenwood) and Ringo Starr (Sunny Heights). It was also where Harrison, Lennon and their wives retreated after their first LSD experience in 1965.

Around 1967, George and Patti decided to paint their stuffy house to fit the psychedelic zeitgeist, supposedly inspired by a book called Tantrum Art, longtime Beatle buddy Klaus Voorman also lended a hand.  George was supposedly on an acid trip at the time, painting the exterior of his house with psychedelic swirls.  Inside, a mural around the fireplace was created by design collective The Fool, who also painted several Beatles musical instruments and Harrison's Mini.  Due to their bohemian openness, there was little to no security in those days around George's house, and young female fans were always descending upon it to take photos, ring the doorbell, and pet the cat.  Among Kinfauns' many claims to fame, George recorded many of his White Album demos in his home studio in '68 on Harrison's Ampex four-track reel-to-reel tape recorder. (These demos have been released on various bootleg albums; seven of them also appear on The Beatles Anthology, Vol. 3.)  Harrison was the first Beatle to own or use a Moog Synthesizer, and he recorded "Under The Mersey Wall" with his Moog at Kinfauns; the track became one side of his Electronic Sound album, released in May 1969. In '69 it was the site of a very famous, staged drug bust where police claimed to have found tons of hashish (they had actually planted at his home).  He and Pattie left Kinfauns in 1970 for a picturesque fixer-upper as their marriage was starting to fall apart.  After moving to Friar Park, Harrison sold Kinfauns; both houses were listed as assets of the Beatles' company Apple Corps.  The site of Kinfauns lies within the historic garden walls of the adjacent Claremont Fan Court House, a 19th Century royal residence. Sadly, and stupidly, following a series of planning decisions, the bungalow was demolished and replaced with a new two story house.

Below are the numerous Kinfauns fan photos:

 George 1968, same t-shirt as Mad Day Out photos

George with a couple very lucky fans.

George at Kinfauns circa 1969, George is in his country phase but the house is still psychedelic

Backyard view

George caught crossing the yard.

Pattie in the doorway, looking like she's going to or coming from a photoshoot.

Blow up version of a fan photo above.

Jenny Boyd, Pattie's sister, fellow rock muse and model.

With a fan.

A very clean cut George and clean cut Kinfauns when he first bought the house inn 1965:


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