Sir Peter Blake is working on a new version of his Sgt Pepper’s album cover on the side of a Tube tunnel in Chiswick to celebrate the west London neighbourhood’s showbusiness history.
Inspired by his famous 1967 creation for the Beatles, the mural under the railway arches at Turnham Green Underground station, will feature singers, actors, comedians and music hall artists who performed at the now demolished Chiswick Empire Theatre.
They include the likes of Cliff Richard, Laurel and Hardy, Tommy Cooper, Eric Morecambe and Ernie Wise and is part of a Chiswick Timeline project featuring artworks and historic maps.
Sir Peter said: “I first came to Chiswick to see Max Miller at the Empire. I saw Cliff Richard, Liberace. I’ve lived here since 1957 so I was intrigued when I was told about the Chiswick Timeline project. The Chiswick Empire was an obvious choice for me. My collage is in the style of Sergeant Pepper, but I’ve always used crowds as a motif.
It’s a great way of presenting a situation with a lot of people, all the people that I could trace that played Chiswick Empire from Victorian music hall to when it closed. The mural is a great project – it’ll be a landmark work of art and I’m looking forward to seeing it.”
Sir Peter’s panels will be installed in January. Other local artists taking part in the Abundance London project include children’s illustrator Jan Pienkowski, political cartoonist Martin Rowson and wallpaper designer Marthe Armitage.
Sir Peter, 85, has also recently converted two barges, used to ferry visitors to the Olympics, into a floating bar and restaurant on the Grand Union Canal.