A group of previously unknown works by Richard Hamilton, one of the UK’s most famous Pop artists, are shown publicly for the first time at Frieze Masters, which opened to the public today.
The unique works on paper—conceived as illustrations for a children’s book based on the nursery rhyme Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Sailor—had been tucked away in an envelope for 50 years. Hamilton made them when he was in his 20s and living with his parents in North London. He then offered them to his girlfriend Terry O’Reilly to give to her landlords in lieu of rent when both were short on cash. (O’Reilly met Hamilton in 1944 and later became his wife.)
For years, the ten gouaches remained pinned to the wall of the landlords’ children’s nursery. After they sold the house, their youngest son held onto the works—until the press attention surrounding Hamilton’s retrospective at Tate Modern in 2014 prompted him to take another look. He contacted Tate and later the dealer Alan Cristea, who represents Hamilton’s estate.
The works are displayed alongside other rare prints by Hamilton at Cristea’s stand (FM E10). Prices range from £3,000 to £40,000.