June Furlong

RIP June Furlong, Liverpool's most famous life model

November 04, 2022

My reflections on the great June Furlong, Queen of the Liverpool Art School, who passed away in 2020.

June (1930-2020) was my friend and had a very long career as an artist’s model. I met her at Liverpool College of Art; before that she worked at Slade School in London. She was a wonderful and very beautiful model, whom everybody loved to draw and paint. She took her career very seriously but retained a vibrant personality and a great sense of humour. Hardly surprising since she was born at 58 Falkner Street, just around the corner from the art school (she featured in David Olusoga’s marvellous TV documentary A House Through Time, about number 62).  
As a student, our wonderfully quiet life drawing classes focused pure concentration unless John Lennon was in the room. As I've recounted in countless biographies, life drawing was endlessly interrupted by Johns total inability to take his work remotely seriously. Perhaps he had ADHD.  The entire room would descend into riotous, near-tearful hysteria at John’s antics. These typically involved John leaping all over the room and doing his utmost to distract June, who would be trying to stay poker-faced, despite the urge to giggle. 
In my video (below) you can see my sketch of John in 1959, where both of us are pretending to draw June.... very post-modern! I am often asked if John ever did any actual painting. It’s fair to say he did his own thing in the Life Drawing class. He would either ignore June completely, drawing instead his own grotesque monsters, or he would narrow his focus, with his artistic attention entirely on June’s wristwatch, or her slippers on the floor. While June would deal with John later on, during break time, our tutor, Teddy Griffiths took the wild behavior in his stride and never uttered a sound, puffing away on his pipe in the corner (as you can see in another of my sketches from the time). I am not sure whether he considered this "performance art” or was simply scared of having his nose punched by John. 
After she retired from modeling, June started promoting  exhibitions by her close artist friends. She had a profound appreciation of art and artists and was a proper bohemian. During the autumn and summer terms she would have a gorgeous all-over tan from sunbathing in Spain. Among our tutors, her favourite was George Jardine, who painted exquisite, dreamlike surrealistic works.  They were soul mates until he left us several years ago. She missed him terribly. 
June and I remained close friends. Whenever we hadn’t seen each other for a while, she would write me rambling letters (a bit like mine!). And when I needed a memory dose of the good old days (pre-Instagram and pre-internet), I could always count on a catch-up featuring detailed reminiscences from June, lasting at least two hours. She was utterly hilarious and never stopped talking, except when modelling.
June is missed by many, many people, including me, who loved her dearly. She was a strong character and a great wit. RIP dear June, you were a total star. 
To read June's life story you can visit Wikipedia or even buy her book June: A Life Study, which is full of fabulous anecdotes as well as beautiful art featuring June.

Also in Stories

My Lennon cap: made to last!
My Lennon cap: made to last!

November 03, 2022

These John Lennon caps are made to last! Helen Anderson's original design, originally created in 1964, worn here by the Beatle in 1975, still with the Ferrari pin he stuck into it when he passed his driving test and bought a powder blue convertible.


Jude Southerland Kessler and Lanea Stagg interview Helen Anderson about her life and her memories of The Beatles, John Lennon and Cynthia Lennon
Interview with Helen Anderson about John Lennon

November 02, 2022

For the inside story on John Lennon and loads of memories from fashion designer Helen Anderson - Lennon's friend and of course the designer of his famous leather cap - listen to this great interview with Jude Southerland Kessler.


At Home with the Lennons
At Home with the Lennons

November 01, 2022

A little anecdote that sprang from an interview I did with BBC 2 in 2021 for a documentary called A Life in Ten Pictures: John Lennon. For some behind-the-scenes Beatles colour, read on!


How to measure your head for my leather cap

sketch of John Lennon by Helen Anderson 


A message from Helen about sizing: 
Hats are a bit like jackets and dresses: sizes are supposed to be universal but may vary from one manufacturer to another. I can’t guarantee you a perfect fit, but I can do my best to help.

My cap is available in 4 sizes: Small (S), Medium (M), Large (L) and Extra Large (XL). It’s an investment piece, so I encourage you also to invest three minutes to find the perfect fit.

Don’t just guess your size!
John Lennon’s head measured 23.5 inches. He was a size XL (big brain!). Here's how I measured it, back in 1964 - and how you can measure yours now.
  1. Don’t panic if you don’t have a tailor’s tape measure handy. You can also use a length of string or ribbon, and then measure it against a ruler.
  2. Place the string or tape around your head about 3mm above your ear, across the mid-forehead, completely circling your head. Hold the tape firmly, but not super-tightly.
  3. I’d like you to measure your head exactly where the cap will sit. If your measurement falls between sizes, choose the next size up.
Remember: If you have big hair, you’ll probably need the next size up!



You will need to tell me your size at the time you order.


If you are in such a hurry to get hold of a cap that you don’t have time to measure your head, you could also check the size of another hat that fits: hat sizes are universal… in theory. Don’t see your size? Have a special request?

Email Me!