Eric Clapton and George Harrison's muse Pattie Boyd auctioning off their love letters, more

The love letters between Pattie Boyd and Eric Clapton are a part of music history, and will probably earn some cash.

On route to the US (Pattie Boyd, Ringo Starr, George Harrison, Maureen Starkey, Eric Clapton)
On route to the US (Pattie Boyd, Ringo Starr, George Harrison, Maureen Starkey, Eric Clapton) / Evening Standard/GettyImages

Pattie Boyd, renowned as a model, is putting up for auction letters that uncover the depths of her well-known romantic entanglement with guitarist Eric Clapton and Beatles icon George Harrison. Boyd, a source of inspiration for both men during the vibrant decades of the 1960s and 70s, influenced Harrison's timeless composition "Something" and served as muse for Clapton's chart-topping hits "Wonderful Tonight" and "Layla". It's earned her the status of "one of the greatest muses in rock history."

Initially wedded to the Beatle, Boyd found herself the subject of affectionate letters from his close confidant Clapton, igniting a tumultuous love triangle. Now, she plans to auction off correspondence from both icons alongside other personal items, with the event set to take place at Christie's in London the following month. The items will be available for public viewing from March 15 to 21 (though a few items can be seen in the BBC article linked above, and some of the items will surely be available for viewing through a Google search).

Boyd's connection with the Beatles formed during her role in their 1964 film A Hard Day's Night, where she felt an immediate rapport with Harrison, the band's famously reserved guitarist. Reflecting on their bond, Boyd remarked, "He was quite shy, like me. I think that's why we got on." Their courtship spanned two years before culminating in marriage in January 1966, a period marked by Harrison's endearing letters and postcards during the Beatles' frequent tour absences.

Patti Boyd was basically worshipped by Clapton...until she wasn't

Not all of the letters are particularly poetically stirring. One letter on auction sees Harrison expressing, "Hope you're OK... I miss you. I'm starving - many grilled cheese sandwiches. Love you."

Meanwhile, Clapton, a frequent visitor to the couple's home in Surrey, nursed a silent affection for Boyd unbeknownst to Harrison. In 1970, he penned a meticulously crafted letter, inquiring about Boyd's sentiments towards her spouse. "What I wish to ask you is if you still love your husband, or if you have another lover? All these questions are very impertinent I know but if there is still a feeling in your heart for me… you must let me know!" he wrote, making abundantly clear his own desires and the uncertainty involved.

Boyd, initially mistaking the letter for fan mail, soon realized its true sender upon Clapton's subsequent call. Their correspondence evolved, with Clapton pouring his heart out in a subsequent letter, expressing his longing and devotion, signed off with a poetic declaration, "If you want me, take me, I am yours… if you don't want me, please break the spell that binds me..."

Despite initially rebuffing Clapton's advances, Boyd's marital troubles in the early 1970s led her to join him on tour, sparking a romance that led to their marriage in 1979, with Harrison's reluctant blessing. However, Clapton's battles with alcoholism and infidelity eventually fractured the relationship, leading to divorce in 1989 (perhaps a dose of reality for those who regard this as nothing but "one of the most mythical romantic entanglements in rock 'n' roll history").

Pattie Boyd's memorabilia extravangza sale

Boyd, daughter of a retired RAF bomber pilot, transitioned from the spotlight of modeling in the 1960s to a career in photography. Her decision to sell off her memorabilia, including letters, paintings, photographs, jewelry, and fashion items, stems from a desire to share her cherished possessions with others, but also most likely some cash. Among the highlights of the auction is a doodle by Harrison and a Christmas card he crafted for Boyd, showcasing his artistic flair and affection (you can see it, and potentially bid on it here until the auction sale ends).

The sale also features the painting "La jeune fille au bouquet" by Emile Théodore Frandsen de Schomberg, famed for gracing the cover of Clapton's 1970 album Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs (interestingly enough, that painting has its own story, having apparently been an object of legal controversy). The painting is expected to fetch between £40,000 and £60,000.

(Also interesting: That's the same expected price range bandied about for an auctioned letter John Lennon apparently sent to Clapton about starting a music project, where Lennon is quoted by sources as saying: "Eric, I know I can bring out something great, in fact, greater in you that had been so far evident in your music. I hope to bring out the same kind of greatness in all of us, which I know will happen if/when we get together...")

Boyd has Clapton's blessing

Boyd, on her part, sought Clapton's approval before proceeding with the auction, recalling his response when asked about selling the iconic "Layla" painting: "Maybe there are other things you could sell as well." This collaborative decision underscores a shared history and mutual understanding between the former lovers.