The definitive visual companion to the life of Syd Barrett.
Barrett is a premium quality, large format book, produced using the finest materials. It is full of unseen and rare images of Syd Barrett and Pink Floyd. It collects and catalogues for the first time artworks and photographs by Syd himself.
The book was published on March 18, 2011 and is available to order now.
The book has been made in conjunction with the Barrett family and access to the family art and photograph archive, and their recollections have combined to show a new picture of Syd the creative, revealing a man who was a dedicated, practising artist throughout his life.
The book splits into three sections:
- Syd’s life in photographs – from growing up through to working and performing with Pink Floyd and his life as a solo artist.
- Unseen and unpublished illustrated letters sent to Libby Gausden-Chisman and Jenny Spires between 1962-1965, as Syd was finding himself as a painter and a musician.
- All of Syd’s existing work as a visual artist from 1962 until his death.
The book contains over 250 images. These include:
- Over 100 completely unseen images and many more reproduced in fine art quality for the first time.
- Over 40 artworks including: paintings, drawings, mosaics, collages, and sculptures.
- Over 50 unseen photographs taken by Syd of his artworks, including: images of his “destroyed” works seen here for the first time, studies in preparation for his artworks, images of his work area.
The Art section also includes:
- An extensive commentary on Syd’s artworks by Barrett art expert Will Shutes.
- Notes on Syd’s diaries, notebooks, scrapbooks, and his History of Art project.
- The Catalogue Raisonné of Syd’s art – listing and dating all the artwork known to have existed.
The book was published on March 18, 2011 in two editions and was launched alongside a month-long exhibition at the prestigious Idea Generation Gallery in London.
Both editions of the book are available for purchase now.
Over 100 images covering Syd’s life, more than 60 of them unseen and unpublished.
Images from the Barrett family archive
Previously unseen photos from the Barrett family archive as well as high quality reproductions of rare but seen images, sourced from the original photos.
Images from Nick Mason’s personal archive
Including a previously unseen photo of Syd and his white Fender Telecaster from 1965.
The London Free School Benefit gigs at All Saints Church
Very rare and completely unseen photos of Pink Floyd from the London Free School gigs, which come from two different sources, that include a shot of the band from back of the stage as the light show pours onto them and the crowd. There are also unseen shots of Syd and Pink Floyd from another Free School gig that, again, illustrate the power of the early light shows.
The Architects Association gig
The band played a little-known gig at the Architects Association in December 1966 and we have unseen images from this concert with the band in full swing.
The launch of International Times at The Roundhouse
The launch of IT at the Roundhouse was an important early gig for the band and we have unearthed unseen photos of the band playing with a particularly interesting one of a pencil-moustached Syd photographed from the back of the stage.
UFO was vital in getting the band known and we have some great unseen atmospheric shots of Pink Floyd and Syd including a glimpse of the band from just behind Rick’s shoulder which shows just how small the UFO stage was and how close to the band the audience was.
Pink Floyd in Europe
Pink Floyd didn’t play in Europe too often during Syd’s tenure with the band but was have managed to track down rare and unseen images of the band on the streets of Amsterdam before they played a gig recorded in a studio for Dutch TV show ‘Fan Club’ which we also have unseen images of.
The band also played in Scandinavia and we have completely unseen photos of them performing in Aarhus, Denmark.
The Madcap Laughs session
We have also found photos from The Madcap Laughs photo sessions, previously thought to be lost, including one of a very smiley Syd!
Plus many more rare images, published for the first time
As well as all of these specific events we have sourced many unseen and rare images of Syd and Pink Floyd taken from various points in Syd’s life from him as a 15-year-old helping a friend decorate their house to him in agent/manager Bryan Morrison’s office in the early 1970’s with many unseen Pink Floyd images in between from various photo shoots and the like.
We have located and photographed all of Syd’s known artworks. These have been reproduced in fine art quality, capturing the subtler detail of brush strokes, layering of fabrics and oils, the etching of series on certain canvases, among other methods Syd employed. This allows us, for the first time, to really see how he worked, the effort that went in, the stylistic choices he made.
We have also found over 50 photos that Syd took of some of his paintings before destroying the paintings themselves, as well as photos he took of landscapes and other scenes as a preparatory exercise for his art.
All of this is accompanied by an in-depth analysis of Syd’s work by Barrett art authority Will Shutes.
In 1964 Syd moved to London to study at Camberwell and it was then that he began to play with the people who would later go on to become Pink Floyd.
He sent many letters back to Libby Gausden-Chisman and Jenny Spires in Cambridge which detail his art school life, early gigs with the band, and one that discusses the band’s first ever foray into a recording studio. Almost all of the letters came with illustrations by Syd and we have included all those of visual interest.
Authors Russell Beecher and Will Shutes draw on their in-depth research to show Syd’s work in an entirely new light.
Syd was a working artist from 1962 until his death in 2006. The span of his artistic life and the dedication behind it is captured here for the first time in Will’s in-depth, painstakingly researched evaluation of Syd’s work: his subjects, methods, inspirations, and more. The result is a comprehensive and revelatory study of Syd the artist. Barrett includes comments from new and archive interviews with many of Syd’s friends and colleagues including:
Joe Boyd’s story is one that weaves through a multitude of landmark musical events and times of which there are far too many to detail here. As far as Syd goes Joe was involved in key periods of Pink Floyd’s rise such as the London Free School gigs and UFO. He also produced Arnold Layne and so was, thus, a vital part of getting the band on the road to stardom. Since then he has produced many important records and been responsible for the popularity of many iconic artists. All of his exploits can be read about in his autobiography White Bicycles.
Viv started going out with Syd in the summer of 1965, from June to August, and remembers him as “a lovely, kind and generous boy and very handsome. He made me laugh a lot and I have very happy memories of our time together”.
Libby started going out with Syd in 1962 and had an on/off fantastic relationship with him until 1965. She was at Cambridge Grammar School for Girls, where Syd’s older sister Ruth was her head girl, and lived a few doors away from him in Hills Road, Cambridge.
Nigel first met Syd Barrett in the summer of 1961. He went to film school in 1965 and in that year made the now iconic film Syd Barrett’s First Trip. He formed the production company Green Back Films in 1976 with Storm Thorgerson and Aubrey Powell and worked for Donovan and Pink Floyd, amongst others. Since then Nigel has worked on many well-receieved projects in film and book and continues to do so.
Miles was at the forefront of the British underground movement of the 1960”s and in his involvement with the International Times, UFO, and the 14 Hour Technicolor Dream came into contact with Syd and Pink Floyd on numerous occasions. He has authored books on many topics with his writing on art, music and literature being held in particularly high-regard.
Andrew met Syd at school in 1958/59 and the two shared ideas on a range of artistic topics; it was for Andrew that Syd made the excellent Fart Enjoy. Andrew received a BA in Philosophy at Cambridge in 1967 and a PhD in Indian Buddhism at Lancaster University in 1972 and subsequently taught philosophy and related topics in the UK and the US before retiring in 1993 after which he authored ‘The Book of Enlightened Masters’ in 1997.
Jenny met Syd in December 1964 when she was at school in Cambridge and he was in his first year at Camberwell in London. They started writing to each other and continued until the Easter 1966. In that summer Jenny moved to London and became a part of the crowd witnessing the rise of Pink Floyd from All Saints Church to The Roundhouse, UFO and Alexandra Palace.
Anthony Stern was a friend of Syd’s from the early days in Cambridge. The two put on an exhibition in Cambridge in the early 1960s and continued their friendship when both moved to London. Anthony turned his hand to film making in the early 1960s and by the latter stage of that decade was working with Peter Whitehead, as well as making his own films such as the highly-regarded ‘San Francisco’, which featured an alternative version of Interstellar Overdrive as its soundtrack. Anthony continued to make films and take photographs beyond the 1960s and is now one of the UK’s pre-eminent glassblowers.