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'They're too painful in their beauty': Pattie Boyd selling Eric Clapton and George Harrison's love letters

Pattie Boyd is selling her love letters credit:Bang Showbiz
Pattie Boyd is selling her love letters credit:Bang Showbiz

Pattie Boyd is selling the "desperate and passionate" love letters she received from Eric Clapton and the late George Harrison.

The 79-year-old model-turned-photographer finds it "heartbreaking" to read the missives penned by her ex-husbands but she is ready for someone else to "enjoy" the notes.

Pattie - who was pursued by Eric while married to his close friend - told the Daily Telegraph newspaper: “I’ve had them all for so many years – far too long. I thought, why don’t I just sell everything and let everybody else enjoy it?

“The letters from Eric – they’re so desperate and passionate, a passion that blooms once in a lifetime, I think. Even now, if I were to read those letters, it makes me terribly sad.

“I’ve had them in a little trunk and occasionally I’ll have a look and start to read, and my heart beats, it jumps, because it’s heartbreaking. They’re too painful in their beauty.”

The letters lay bare the love triangle between the trio, with the first sent by the 'Wonderful Tonight' singer in 1970, four years into Pattie's marriage to the Beatles legend.

Eric questioned if the model still loved her husband or had found another lover.

He wrote: “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! All my love, E."

The second addressed Pattie as 'Layla', Eric's nickname for her and was written months later on a torn-out title page from a copy of John Steinbeck’s 'Of Mice and Men'.

He wrote: "For nothing more than the pleasures past I would sacrifice my family, my god, and my own existence… Why do you hesitate, am I a poor lover, am I ugly, am I too weak, too strong, do you know why?

“If you want me, take me, I am yours… if you don’t want me, please break the spell that binds me. To cage a wild animal is a sin, to tame him is divine. My love is yours.”

A more down-to-earth 1971 letter from George was sent from New York's Plaza hotel and he asked his wife to call him to "say hello to Hubby" and discussed shoppoing for cushions.

He signed off: “Hope you’re ok. I miss you. I’m starving - many grilled cheese sandwiches. Love you."

The Pattie Boyd Collection will be offered online from March 8-22, and will be on public view at Christie’s in London from March 15-21, and as well as the letters - which are expected to fetch £10,000 - £15,000 each - lots include the original artwork for the cover of Derek and the Dominoes 1970 album 'Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs'.

Eric bought the painting from the son of artist Fransen De Schomberg because he thought it resembled the model.

She said: “He loved this particular painting and decided to call it Layla.

“When I left George and years later started seeing Eric, Eric gave this painting to George, so George had it for a long time.

“And then when Eric and I split up, George gave it to me. So this lovely painting has done the rounds between the three of us.”

Other lots include a casual photo of Pattie and George - who died in 2001 - in their garden, the original handwritten lyrics for the musician's 'Mystical One' and a polaroid she took of Eric with his favourite guitar.

Pattie confirmed Eric - who she split from in 1989 after 10 years of marriage - had given the auction her blessing.

She said: “He asked if I was selling the Layla painting, and I said yes. He said, ‘Maybe there are other things you could sell as well.’ So he’s absolutely fine with me auctioning everything.”

But she thinks it is unlikely he will want his old letters back.

She said: “I would have imagined that, like me, he’s moved on. He’s got such a different life. I doubt very much he’ll buy them back.”