“An exceptional collectors opportunity": An unfinished novel about John Lennon written by original Beatles bassist Stuart Sutcliffe is being put up for sale, alongside his artwork, poems and early photos of the band

Stuart Sutcliffe and John Lennon
(Image credit: Collect/Mirrorpix/Mirrorpix via Getty Images | Fiona Adams/Redferns)

An unfinished novel about The Beatles' John Lennon written by his close friend and former bandmate Stuart Sutcliffe is among a treasured archive of poems, photos and artwork being put up for sale.

According to Artnet, the late artist's estate is seeking a buyer for Sutcliffe's complete art and artefact collection, which it describes as "an exceptional collectors opportunity."

In a detailed listing of the collection, the estate says, "This comprehensive archive comprises over 400 poetic artworks, several amid prior exhibits in prestigious galleries and museums. Complimenting the art includes 200 documents: letters, poems, essays, and an incomplete novel about John Lennon. It weaves a captivating visual narrative, featuring 37 original photographs chronicling the band’s formative days in England and Germany. Within these treasures lie poignant letters exchanged between Sutcliffe, Lennon, and their inner circle, unveiling the depth of their relationships and the fervent creativity igniting their iconic artistic journey."

Sutcliffe met John Lennon when the two were students at the Liverpool College of Art, and he is credited, alongside Lennon, for coming up with the name The Beatles for their new band with Paul McCartney and George Harrison. Sutcliffe played with the band in Hamburg, where he fell in love with photographer Astrid Kirchherr: he later opted to leave band to focus on his art, and remained in Germany with Kirchherr. Tragically, Sutcliffe died of a brain haemorrhage in April 1962, aged just 21.

"I looked up to Stu," John Lennon once said. "I depended on him to tell me the truth."

The archive’s administrator Diane Vitale, who has managed Sutcliffe's estate since being entrusted to look after it by the late artist's sister, says that she has had numerous enquiries since making it known that the collection is up for sale.

Paul Brannigan
Contributing Editor, Louder

A music writer since 1993, formerly Editor of Kerrang! and Planet Rock magazine (RIP), Paul Brannigan is a Contributing Editor to Louder. Having previously written books on Lemmy, Dave Grohl (the Sunday Times best-seller This Is A Call) and Metallica (Birth School Metallica Death, co-authored with Ian Winwood), his Eddie Van Halen biography (Eruption in the UK, Unchained in the US) emerged in 2021. He has written for Rolling Stone, Mojo and Q, hung out with Fugazi at Dischord House, flown on Ozzy Osbourne's private jet, played Angus Young's Gibson SG, and interviewed everyone from Aerosmith and Beastie Boys to Young Gods and ZZ Top. Born in the North of Ireland, Brannigan lives in North London and supports The Arsenal.