Jethro Tull, The Broadsword and the Beast, Album Cover, 1982
© Iain McCaig

Jethro Tull, The Broadsword and the Beast, Album Cover, 1982

By Iain McCaig
About the image

This artwork was created for the front cover of Jethro Tull's 14th studio album, Broadsword and the Beast

The album was originally going to be called Beastie, the name of the first track on side one. But during production, the band was divided between the titles Beastie and Broadsword, the first track on side two. In the end, they decided (as they had done before with Aqualung) to give each side its own title and thus its own identity, and combine both into the album's title.

McCaig, a longtime Tull fan, developed the visual concept after meeting with Ian Anderson to discuss the album. He also listened to a cassette tape of songs in progress that Anderson had given him, and was invited to sketch in the studio while they recorded. He produced a preliminary drawing of a bard, tormented by the music from a pan pipe-playing beastie on his shoulder. When Anderson saw it, he pointed to the little fellow and said: “That’s our cover”. McCaig then combined the beastie with the broadsword concept, and posed him stepping out of a painting of a ship at sea that had come to life - inspired by the book Voyage Of The Dawn Treader from the Narnia Chronicles series.

To the delight of fans, he added further depth to the illustration with hidden symbols and visual “easter eggs” as he called them. Among these are the portraits of band members Dave Pegg, Martin Barre, Peter Vitesse, and Gerry Conway in the four corners of the picture frame. There are also actual runes that spell out the opening lyrics to Broadsword: "I see a dark sail on the horizon, set under a black cloud that hides the sun. Bring me my broadsword and clear understanding. Bring me my cross of gold as a talisman."

Iain McCaig said in a 2015 interview, "Jethro Tull and Chrysalis both seemed pleased with the cover. For some of The Broadsword… concerts, they built the entire picture frame around the stage, with the dark-sailed ship crashing through it at the end. Ian also performed with a life-sized articulated Beastie on his shoulders..."

Release Notes:
Iain McCaig published a museum-quality limited-edition print of this iconic artwork for collectors in June, 2024.

The entire edition of 25 pieces, plus 5 Artist's Proofs were printed in San Francisco. Each piece is hand-signed and numbered by the artist.

Please use the CHOOSE A SIZE button to view details & purchase the numbered prints. They are in-stock and can ship immediately.

Collectors Notes:

PLEASE NOTE: Each Artist's Proof will bear a hand-drawn remarque by Iain McCaig!

Iain will add a unique design of his own choosing to each of the APs in the margin below the image. Since there are so few, and each will be one-of-a-kind, these will only be sold directly. Please contact us to inquire and we'll be happy to send you details.

All buyers will receive a certificate of authenticity following the delivery of their new artwork.

This original artwork is available for sale as a set with its counterpart Jethro Tull, The Broadsword and the Beast, Album Back Cover, 1982

17.5" x 17.5" Artwork Size
Mixed-media, Watercolor painting on board
Signed, Original Artwork - Available

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Jethro Tull, The Broadsword and the Beast, Album Cover, 1982
Jethro Tull, The Broadsword and the Beast, Album Cover, 1982