Empty Abbey Road

From an auction at Bonhams.

This photo is currently being auctioned off by reputed auction house Bonhams. They describe it as from Iain Macmillan’s collection, the photographer who took the photos for the “Abbey Road” Beatles album cover. Seemingly a vintage photo from possibly around or indeed the same day, August 8, 1969 as he took the Beatles photos, Iain or someone else has experimented with this print, superimposing a modern day photo of an Abbey Road street sign into the sky above.

Abbey Road street sign.

This is a b/w version of the test photo with stand-ins for The Beatles.

As the story goes, the owner of the VW Beetle parked his car there and then went on a holiday, so the car was parked there for a few days. It’s certainly there in the photo taken probably the day before, with stand-ins walking across, in order to give Macmillan an idea of what it would, look like on the day, so that he could adjust the settings of his camera.

Another adjustment he made was to bring along a stepladder in order to shoot the scene from above street level. The new (at least to us) photo is clearly taken from the stepladder, but it’s narrower than the Beatles photos, although the print may have been a cropped version of the photo, in order to make a poster.

Here’s what Bonhams are saying: 1969, original vintage photographic print of the zebra crossing on Abbey Road, without the Beatles but with the faint ‘Abbey Road’ sign visible at the top, supposedly a mock-up whilst working on the cover for The Beatles ‘Abbey Road’ album covers, with photographer’s stamp on the verso, unnumbered and unsigned, 12in x 16in (30.5cm x 40.5cm),

Property from The Iain Macmillan Collection.

The auction also features many other interesting Beatles lots, including several more Abbey Road photos from Macmillan, check it out!

6 Responses

  1. Pete Black says:

    FEBRUARY 8th ?? Errrr . . . . August !!

  2. NB7 says:

    There’s very very strong rumours The Beatles are going to feature in the next series of Doctor Who currently being filmed. Abbey Road street signs and a zebra crossing have been spotted during filming.

    • Blakey says:

      Thanks for the info. Daleks crossing near Abbey Road would be a great image.

      But I’m afraid I lost all faith in Doctor Who when Matt Smith departed. It was great from 1963 to 2013. Now every episode seems to be a woke lecture from the BBC propaganda department.

  3. Steve Chang says:

    Anyone notice in that test black and white photo the second guy looks a lot like George in one of his 70’s period and the last guy looks a lot like John during his Imagine period.

    • Blakey says:

      I think Kevin Harrington – longtime Beatles roadie and the red haired chap seen on the rooftop gig – is one of the men on that test pic.

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