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John Lennon
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John Lennon

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John Lennon
An autograph letter, signed, from John Lennon to Canon Verney, 28th June, 1968, concerning Lennon and Ono's first 'event' - the planting of two acorns outside Coventry Cathedral as part of the National Sculpture Exhibition - the twenty-two line letter written in black ink, the capital letters D, C and V of the address, annotated by Lennon with small caricature faces, John opens the letter on a bitterly sarcastic note, thanking Verney for his ..Christian attitude and objecting to Verney's apparent refusal to issue Lennon and Ono's explanatory leaflet for their sculpture: I think the leaflet is explicit - Antony Fawcett's notes are expecially for 'puzzled people' - anyway do you have to explain an acorn?...
- Lennon proceeds to question Christian principles in relation to their 'event' in his explanation of its meaning:
The Christian Church does allow divorce doesn't it? Christians are supposed to stand for TRUTH. Christ stood for people - Yoko and I are people - of course the piece is about Yoko and me - it's also about YOU and me, and anyone else you care to mention - its about EVERYONE and EVERYTHING...
- John proceeds to take issue with Verney over apparent concerns he has regarding the influence John and Yoko's piece might have:
..You talk about young people as if you know something about them - you obviously don't or you wouldn't be worried about our influence on them..
- Lennon ends his correspondence with a woundingly dismissive post script: ..Could we not substitute something which is not worth stealing..and which says quite simply "Sit here, and think of a church growing into a bigger church" - Then we needn't bother to have clergy and everybody can enjoy THE idea..; the letter accompanied by an associated press cutting from the Coventry Evening Telegraph with the headline Lennon to replant acorn - removal has 'upset' balance..
Literature
COLEMAN, Ray John Lennon, London: Sidgwick & Jackson, 1994, p.291
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Lot Essay

John and Yoko's first event received a generally sceptical response from the press. As Ray Coleman commented it ...fuelled the cynics' view that John had gone crazy... they planted two acorns at Coventry Cathedral as part of the National Sculpture Exhibition ...one facing east, the other facing west... The idea, which was John's, was to symbolise the meeting of John and Yoko as two different cultures, and the phrase 'Plant an acorn for peace', coined by John was to accompany the event...The planting of acorns...was of great significance to John, more so than to Yoko. It marked his concentration on art and his first conscious proclamation of peace....

According to the accompanying press cutting, John and Yoko planted the two acorns under a white wrought-iron garden seat which was insured by the couple at the time for £4,500. The sculpture, entitled Yoko by John - John by Yoko was described by the artists as ..this is what happens when two clouds meet. Mr. Anthony Fawcett, cited in Lennon's letter, and a member of the organising committee wrote in the catalogue ..The thoughts behind it are beautiful... The main Sculpture Exhibition was housed inside the cathedral ruins, however John and Yoko's piece was moved from its original position in front of the Chapel of Unity and placed in the cathedral garden as Canon Verney, Barbara Hepworth and Henry Moore decided that it wouldn't fit in with the rest of the exhibition which had been planned a long time in advance. Verney is quoted as saying of the sculpture I am very happy with it. It has two important things to say: firstly sit and think of an acorn growing into an oak, and secondly try not to take yourselves too seriously..
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