British Library Obtains Lennon Lyrics And Letters

The British Library has been given letters and lyrics by John Lennon under a program that accepts donations of art and cultural artifacts in place of tax.

The Arts Council said Thursday that the papers include a letter adorned with sketches and verses written by Lennon to his friend and bandmate Stuart Sutcliffe. Sutcliffe died of a brain hemorrhage at age 21 in 1962, before The Beatles achieved global fame.

Also donated were Lennon’s handwritten lyrics to Beatles songs including “In My Life” and “Strawberry Fields Forever.”

The items were donated by Beatles biographer Hunter Davies in place of 120,000 pounds ($190,000) in taxes. Davies said he was happy to see the Beatles’ papers in the library “next to the Magna Carta and works by Shakespeare and Beethoven, because that’s where I honestly think they belong.”

The government-funded Arts Council said almost 50 million pounds’ worth of works was given to museums and galleries through the program in 2012-13.

Photo: AP Photo, File
Speaking at a news conference in New York.

They include a painting by 19th-century artist Jean-Baptiste Camille Corot from the estate of painter Lucian Freud, given to the National Gallery in lieu of 1.4 million pounds in inheritance tax.