The Zacron (1943-2012) Estate Sale

Led Zeppelin’s enigmatic cover art designer’s studio comes to sale in our spring Fine Art auction.


The artist known as Zacron, was born Richard Drew in Sutton in 1943. Zacron’s artistic career was intrinsically connected to music and during  his artistic training he met first Eric Clapton and then Jimmy Page whilst at Kingston College of Art, Zacron recalled how they became fast friends: “Jimmy visited my studio, and in his home, we discussed art and music. We decorated our guitars with experimental materials and designs, I made liquid projections using hot oils and strobes linked to the music of Jimi Hendrix.” 


Zacron embraced the zeitgeist of swinging 1960s London and his art was conceptual as well as visual, with spontaneous happenings, bold costume and psychedelia to the fore, his superb command across a range of visual media extended to performance art and of course music. Much of the work in this studio collection is highly evocative of that period.


Soon after completing his artistic studies at the Royal Academy. Zacron briefly became a lecturer at Leeds Polytechnic, before resigning the post to found ‘Zacron Studios’, it was after a gig at Leeds University in 1970 that the members of Led Zeppelin met with Zacron to discussing the commission of an album cover for the their Led Zeppelin III album, with Jimmy Page championing Zacron’s work. Zacron’s response was highly original and innovative, derived from kinetic art which he had explored during his Royal Academy studies. With pierced outer cover and inner volvelle - a rotating inner wheel which produced an ever changing kaleidoscope effect, literally a revolutionary design. The unconventional approach was also highly complex for production and disruptive, setting back the album release date by two months. It nevertheless coincided with Led Zeppelin’s zenith of fame, they were at this time considered to be the biggest band in the world, and the delay only served to fuel anticipation. Ultimately, sales in the United States alone totalled 25 million copies, making it one of the most iconic covers in rock history. 


Zacron’s long artistic career often returned to muscial associations, other music projects included the highly effective pop art collage 1975 album cover for pop group Fancy. He was also in demand as a graphic artist, producing advertising designs for Daler Rowney, Whatney paper and others. During a career which spanned five decades he made an analytical spiritual exploration of the visual arts, tackling a broad range of media and themes. His work has featured in exhibitions around the world, his art has been collected by legends of the music world and is included in many significant collections. In the latter part of his life he lived at Hethersett in Norfolk. 


The present collection is directly from the artist’s studio. A larger single owner sale of works from the studio will be presented later in the year.