Barney Bubbles Tulips – An Open and Shut Case

Well regarded Barney Bubbles historians RandM (or for those unfamiliar, Rebecca and Mike) have forwarded this seasonal contribution from their Barney symbolism files, for which we are truly thankful… thank you folks!

Hi David,

Well, it’s Spring-time, so we thought you might like us to make a Spring-related contribution to your blog.

In 1972 Barney Bubbles designed the cover to Quiver’s LP ‘Gone In The Morning’ in a faux-marquetry style (although the stained glass in the centre of the design was on real glass, but sadly got accidentally smashed many years ago). We’ve commented before that the flowers on the front of this LP are tulips, but maybe now is a good time to dig a little deeper (if you’ll pardon the gardening pun) into the symbolism of them.

Quiver Gone In The Morning LP 1972 - Designed by Barney Bubbles

Tulips (spring-blooming perennials) grow from bulbs, and these bulbs can be seen towards the bottom of the design on the front and back of the LP. Tulips respond to the daily rhythm of light and dark, causing them to open and close, and so on the back of the LP Barney has shown the tulips closed (accompanied by a photo of a partially obscured sun, presumably a sunrise), and on the front of the LP has shown the tulips open (accompanied by the fully lit stained glass design). The tulips’ opening and closing  – or coming and going – with light and dark is a reference to the LP’s title ‘Gone In The Morning’. It doesn’t stop there though, the flowers and bulbs also represent arrows (the bulbs are the arrowheads and the flowers are the flights), a reference to the band’s name Quiver.
Barney’s work is like a visual cryptic crossword, but a crossword that doesn’t help by letting you know how many letters are in the answer!
The band’s bassist Bruce Thomas subsequently played with Elvis Costello and The Attractions, which regular readers of your blog will know Barney did a lot of work for too.
Best wishes,
RandM
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