In a remarkable twist of fate, the identity of the enigmatic figure on the cover of Led Zeppelin’s legendary fourth studio album, commonly known as Led Zeppelin IV, has finally been uncovered after 52 years of speculation.
Research fellow Brian Edwards, hailing from South West England, made the groundbreaking discovery when perusing a Victorian photo album at an auction house. The photograph, taken in the late Victorian era by Ernest Farmer, features Lot Long, a thatcher from Wiltshire, bent at the waist and burdened by a bundle of twigs on his back.
What makes this revelation particularly intriguing is that for years, the image was widely believed to be a painting. Led Zeppelin’s record sleeve even depicts a re-colored version of the scene hanging on a wall in a frame, adding to the mystique surrounding the cover art.
Ernest Farmer’s photograph of Lot Long now takes center stage in an exhibition at the Wiltshire Museum, shedding light not only on the identity of the bearded thatcher but also on the broader context of rural workers in late Victorian England. Farmer’s exhibition promises to unveil more captivating images from the same period, providing a unique glimpse into a bygone era.
Lot Long, born in Mere in 1823 and passing away in 1893, was a widower living in a cottage on Shaftesbury Road, Mere, at the time the photograph was taken. This newfound revelation adds a historical dimension to the iconic album cover, connecting it to a specific individual with a life story rooted in the late 19th century.
As the Wiltshire Museum prepares to showcase Ernest Farmer’s exhibition, the unveiling of Lot Long’s identity marks a significant moment for fans of Led Zeppelin and enthusiasts of rock music history alike. The man who remained a mystery for over half a century now has a name, a face, and a story that adds depth to one of the most iconic album covers in the history of rock and roll.