Unseen Sketchbooks were recently given a large collection of items that belonged to the late Bush Hollyhead, an illustrator associated with NTA (Nicolas Thirkell Associates) and in particular the work for Led Zeppelin’s album Houses of the Holy (Atlantic, 1973). The lettering Bush did for that cover is still in use by Led Zeppelin as their logotype. I have always been interested in NTA and the collaborations with Bush Hollyhead, George Hardie and Malcolm Harrison.
Within the collection of items was a sketchbook that is a glimpse into the working methods of Bush. Although an illustrator, Bush was clearly influenced by graphic ephemera and collected and found items. From Toblerone and Aero packaging, cigarette merchandising to more musical inspired artefacts.
The notebook also contains a small NTA labelled PMT (photo mechanical transfer) proof of the Houses of the Holy lettering for Led Zeppelin.
I’ve always been interested in how, and indeed why, people work. Of course people work for money, but beyond that, they work to build a collection within their practice. This little unassuming book and the archival items we are starting to look at, give an insight into that.
The collection is essentially an edited selection of what Bush produced. The archive is a collection of what he decided to keep as much as anything.
For someone known to many within the industry, there is relatively written about Bush and his work, but I]we have included some articles below.
NTA – Collaborative genius by Mike Dempsey gives an interesting insight into that time:
Nicholas Thirkell obituary from The Guardian: