The David Vaughan - Artist Who Fell From Grace


2013052320190515 (BBC7)
20190516 (BBC7)

Manchester-born pop artist David Vaughan was a 1960s success story who got to the very top and then lost everything.

Wayne Hemingway takes a fresh angle on an iconic decade and its trendy art and pop scenes, encapsulated in the tragic, but frequently funny and inspiring story of one man.

David Vaughan was in his 20s and had just left the Slade School of Art when he co-founded the BEV Group (Binder, Edwards and Vaughan) with two friends from Manchester, in the early 60s. Their psychedelic furniture, cars, fabrics, wall murals, and posters all commanded an elite list of customers, including Eric Clapton, Princess Margaret and Henry Moore. Vaughan was so successful he went to America to customise aircraft for Pan Am. Briefly, he also ran London's Roundhouse and booked Jimi Hendrix for one of his early UK gigs.

But David fell - literally - from grace, victim of a mental collapse that started after he tumbled 30 feet from a cradle while painting a wall mural on Carnaby Street, injuring his head. A friend's response was to give him a large dose of LSD, from which he never seemed to recover. He quit London and returned north where he continued making art, but his personal style had become darker, earning him the label "modern Goya" for his paintings of victims of the Vietnam War. He became, disastrously, a friend and patient of the anti-psychiatrist, RD Laing, who at the time was possibly in an even worse state, due to alcoholism. But Vaughan's life was deteriorating slowly, and after moving to Ibiza, splitting with his family, remarrying, and then returning to Manchester, he eventually died in 2003.

Featuring deathbed interviews recorded by Vaughan's friend, David Lunt and his daughter, Sadie Frost.

First broadcast on BBC Radio 4 in 2013.

The amazing life story of a 1960s pop artist who fell from grace, told by Wayne Hemingway.