A private collection of "extraordinary" Sex Pistols artwork, posters, lyrics and documents will go under the hammer at Sotheby's auction house in London.

The collection was assembled during the 1990s by contemporary art dealer Paul Stolper and critic Andrew Wilson, who was formerly the senior curator of modern British art at the Tate.

This handwritten statement by Sex Pistols manager Malcolm McLaren is expected to fetch between £4,000 and £6,000 Photo: Sotheby's

It highlights how the influential punk band, fronted by John Lydon, led a revolution in popular music and culture in the 1970s alongside manager Malcolm McLaren.

The Stolper-Wilson collection will go up for auction in London from 10-21 October after being exhibited at locations around the world, including the Villa Medici in Rome, the Musée de la Musique in Paris and the Kunsthalle Vienna.

(L-R) Malcolm McLaren, Steve Jones, John Lydon, Glen Matlock, Paul Cook

It features the work of artist Jamie Reid, who McLaren met at Croydon School of Art in 1968 and who designed the band's logo and their instantly recognisable cover art.

Featured is his torn union flag for the band's first single Anarchy in the UK in 1976, held together by bulldog clips (£3,000-£5,000), and the official Silver Jubilee portrait photograph of Britain's Queen Elizabeth II that was "desecrated" in 1977 by a safety pin through the mouth with ransom lettering reading "God Save the Queen" (£1,000-£1,500).

"This was art lived in the streets, collectively made - Do-It-Yourself - as a critique, a reversal, a renewal of culture as well as society" Photo: Sotheby's

Reid's 1977 image of two tour buses with the destinations 'Nowhere' and 'Boredom' also features and is estimated to sell for between £6,000-£8,000.

His working notebook from 1979 (£15,000-£20,000) features his preliminary drawings for record sleeve designs for the Sex Pistols, as well as notes, memos and records of telephone conversations, many illustrating the collapse of his relationship with McLaren and Virgin Records that year.

The Stolper-Wilson collection will go up for auction in London from 10-21 October Photo: Sotheby's

This is highlighted clearly in his drawings for a greatest hits album, Flogging a Dead Horse, which takes aim at the music industry (£5,000-£7,000).

Also featured are posters owned by bassist Sid Vicious for the Sex Pistols' second single God Save the Queen, released in 1977 to coincide with the Silver Jubilee (£4,000-£6,000), and for their first and only studio album Never Mind the B******* Here's the Sex Pistols (£5,000-£7,000).

Stolper said: "The Sex Pistols were about so much more than music alone; they were about attitude and, in a wider context, about art.

The Sex Pistols (John Lydon, pictured) during their show at De Effenaar, Eindhoven, Netherlands on 9 December 1977

"When we first began buying works, by chance when we stumbled across an early rock and pop auction, the collectors we knew were interested in signed records and memorabilia. But, as art historians, this was never relevant to us.

"We never set out to build a collection but soon understood that here was a body of work that was accessible without too much competition, which we could afford, and which, crucially, spoke to us as art."

Wilson said: "This was art lived in the streets, collectively made - Do-It-Yourself - as a critique, a reversal, a renewal of culture as well as society.

"Its relevance has not gone away. If anything, it has grown over time.

"It has been endlessly fascinating to put together this collection and over the years our appreciation for the Sex Pistols, and for the twin genius of McLaren and Reid, has only grown and grown."

Sotheby's specialist Gabriel Heaton said: "The Stolper-Wilson collection is something that people could only ever dream of putting together today.

"Paul and Andrew started acquiring these extraordinary pieces at a time when the Sex Pistols and punk was [sic] still a recent memory, and few people were choosing to examine the movement from a historical perspective.

"This gave them early access to important and rare pieces with perfect provenance, which - 30 years later - not only comprise the finest collection of its kind ever to come to the market, but also feel more relevant than ever."

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Last year, members of the Sex Pistols were embroiled in a British High Court legal battle after guitarist Steve Jones and drummer Paul Cook sued the group's frontman, Lydon, to allow their music to be used in Danny Boyle's TV drama about the band.

In a ruling, judge Anthony Mann found the pair were entitled to invoke "majority voting rules" against Lydon in relation to the use of Sex Pistols material in the series, under the terms of a band member agreement.

Source: Press Association

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