The Art Fund helps V&A acquire Rolling Stones original 'Tongue and Lips' logo

  • 2 September 2008

The original artwork of the Rolling Stones 'Tongue and Lips' logo - one of the world's most instantly recognisable symbols of rock and roll - is now in the collection of London's Victoria and Albert Museum, thanks to the help of The Art Fund, the UK's leading independent art charity.

The work was bought by the V&A at auction in the United States for $92,500*. The Art Fund, entirely funded by donations and its 80,000 members, gave 50% towards the total cost of the artwork.

Designed by John Pasche in 1970, the pop art design perfectly encapsulated Mick Jagger’s sensuous lips and the band’s rebelliousness and has been in continuous use by the Rolling Stones ever since.

Pasche was commissioned to produce the logo after Jagger approached the Royal College of Art in London in 1969 to help him find a design student – the Stones had been frustrated by the bland designs offered by their record label Decca Records. Subsequently, Jagger visited Pasche’s degree show and this led to discussions for a logo and other work for the Stones’s own label, Rolling Stones Records, after the group’s contract ended with Decca Records in 1970.

David Barrie, Director of The Art Fund, said: “This iconic logo, first used on the Stones’s Sticky Fingers album, is one of the most visually dynamic and innovative logos ever created. Designed in the UK by a British artist for one of the country’s most successful groups of all time, it’s wonderful that it has now found a permanent home in London, where the band was originally formed.”

Victoria Broackes, Head of Exhibitions, V&A Theatre and Performance Collections, said: "The Rolling Stones 'Tongue' is one of the first examples of a group using branding and it has become arguably the world's most famous rock logo. We are delighted to have acquired the original artwork, especially as it was designed at the Royal College of Art right here in South Kensington by a student who used to visit the V&A's collections for inspiration. We are very grateful for the Art Fund's support in helping us acquire this exciting addition to our collections."

Born in 1945, John Pasche worked with the Rolling Stones from 1970 to 1974 and subsequently with Paul McCartney, The Who, The Stranglers and Dr Feelgood. He was art director at United Artists (Music), Chrysalis Records and the South Bank Centre.

Pasche was paid just £50 for the logo in 1970 and a further £200 in 1972. The copyright was bought in 1982 and is owned by Musidor BV, the Rolling Stones’ commercial arm. The original artwork of the Rolling Stones Tongue design was sold by John Pasche through Mastro Auctions, an online auction house based in Chicago.


Notes to editors

1. The Art Fund is the UK’s leading independent art charity. It offers grants to help UK museums and galleries enrich their collections; campaigns on behalf of museums and their visitors; and promotes the enjoyment of art.

2. It is entirely funded from public donations and has 80,000 members. Since 1903 the charity has helped museums and galleries all over the UK secure 860,000 works of art for their collections.

3. Recent achievements include: helping secure Anthony d’Offay’s collection, ARTIST ROOMS, for Tate and National Galleries of Scotland in February 2008 with a grant of £1million; putting together a unique funding package to ensure Dumfries House in Ayrshire and its contents were secured intact for the nation in July 2007; and running the ‘Buy a Brushstroke’ public appeal which raised over £550,000 to keep Turner’s Blue Rigi watercolour in the UK.

4. For more information contact the Press Office on 020 7225 4888 or visit

5. The V&A is one of the world’s greatest museum of art and design, with collections unrivalled in their scope and diversity. Established following the enormous success of the Great Exhibition in 1852 to make works of art available to all and to inspire British designers and manufacturers, today the V&A’s collections of amazing artefacts from many of the world's richest cultures continue to intrigue, inspire and inform. The Museum’s collections span over two thousand years of human creativity, in virtually every medium and from many parts of the world and include paintings, sculpture, architecture, ceramics, furniture, fashion, photography, glass, jewellery, metalwork and textiles. The V&A also holds the national theatre and performance collections which range across all performance types from opera, ballet and drama, to puppetry, circus, rock and pop.

Ref: PR056.08