(Above) The 23 Brook Street flat where Jimi Hendrix once lived is now used as the administrative offices of Handel House Museum, where the Hendrix on Britain exhibition is being held. Image: Handel House Museum
Exhibition: Hendrix at home, Handel House Museum, London, until November 7 2010
Looking at rock legend Jimi Hendrix’s time in Britain and the huge influence he had on music , this small exhibition also marks the 40th anniversary of the rock star’s untimely death in September 1970.
The show features some beautiful and enthralling objects for any music fan, including the Gibson Flying V, the guitar Hendrix commissioned and called the Flying Angel, best known for being used by him at the legendary Isle of Wight festival.
Hendrix in the bedroom of the flat (January 4 1969). Image © Barrie Wentzell Photography
There are also handwritten lyrics and doodles in front of walls decorated with photos and psychedelic gig posters which could only come from the sixties.
In another corner sits a coat and hat owned by Hendrix, accompanied by film footage showing him wearing them as part of an outfit.
The exterior of 23 and 25 Brook Street, Mayfair, now Handel House Museum, showing the English Heritage blue plaques recognising the homes of Hendrix and Handel
As well as remembering his iconic style and music, there are lists and a contemporary map pinpointing the many venues he played in London, fully demonstrating the work he put into his art and underlining that it was here, in Britain, where Hendrix became famous.
Probably the most unusual and interesting aspect about this exhibition is its setting. It is at the Handel House Museum, the 18th Century townhouse the composer George Frederic Handel called home for 36 years. Hendrix also called this house home, living in the upstairs flat with his girlfriend, Kathy Etchingham, when he first came to England in 1968.
There are definitely parallels to be drawn between the two men – both musicians, both considered geniuses and pioneering in their field, and both foreign artists who found recognition in Britain.
The staircase from the main living rooms, leading up to the attic room and bathroom. Image: Handel House Museum
The flat where Hendrix actually lived now serves as offices for the staff of the Handel House Museum. His turquoise velvet curtains and amps have gone and the cupboard where he kept his sheet music is now a stationary cupboard, but Barrie Wentzell’s photographs and tours by the museum staff the rooms really come to life. You leave humbled by a building that sheltered these two great men, wishing you could have been a fly on the wall over the years.
Open 10am – 6pm (8pm Thursday, 12pm – 6pm Sunday, closed Monday and Bank Holiday.) Admission £2-£5 (free for under-5s, free for under-16s on Saturday and Sunday.) Flat Visits take place September 15 – 17 and 21 – 26, various times. Admission £8 (includes entry to the museum and exhibition), book online.