‘Dear Layla’: Letters for Sale From a Rock Music Love Triangle

Eric Clapton’s handwritten messages, being auctioned this week, shed light on how he wooed Pattie Boyd away from George Harrison and on the impassioned songs the affair inspired.

One spring morning in 1970, the model Pattie Boyd was having breakfast at her ramshackle mansion in the English countryside when she received a letter marked “Urgent.”

Inside the envelope was a short, lovesick note. “Dearest L,” the letter began, adding later, “It seems like an eternity since I last saw or spoke to you!” As Boyd read on, the note took on a desperate tone: “If there is still a feeling in your heart for me … you must let me know!”

“Don’t telephone,” the emotional scribe added. “Send a letter … that is much safer.”

The author signed off with a mysterious “E.”

Boyd is selling a letter she received from Clapton in spring 1970 while she was married to Harrison.Christie’s Images Ltd.

In a recent interview, Boyd recalled that she had assumed the letter was from a crazed fan and showed it to her husband, the Beatles guitarist George Harrison. Then she forgot about it — until a few hours later when the phone rang. It was Eric Clapton, the rock guitarist and one of Harrison’s friends.

“Did you get my letter?” Clapton asked.

More than 50 years after Clapton’s missive drew Boyd into one of rock music’s most mythic love triangles, the note is getting a moment in the spotlight. On Friday, Christie’s is auctioning over 110 items from Boyd’s archives, including the letter (with an estimated price of up to 15,000 pounds, or about $19,000), as well as photographs of Clapton and Harrison and handwritten song lyrics by both the rock greats.

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