November 8, 1971 was the day that Led Zeppelin released their iconic untitled fourth album, known as Led Zeppelin IV, ZoSo, Symbols or Runes. And today — November 8, 2023 — brings us the news that the figure who appears on the cover of the album has been identified.
The image depicts a man in old-fashioned dress, with a huge bundle of sticks on his back. Now, the BBC reports that Brian Edwards of the University of West England found the original photo while he was looking through a photo album for research on a different topic.
“I instantly recognized the man with the sticks – he’s often called the stick man,” said Edwards, adding that his discovery was “quite a revelation.”
Edwards went on a hunt for information about the photo and determined that the man was likely a 19th century thatcher named Lot Long, from Wiltshire, England, and that the photograph was taken by Ernest Farmer, the BBC reports. Farmer was the first head of the school of photography at what is now the University of Westminster.
The Wiltshire Museum has acquired the photo and will put it on display next year in an exhibit called The Wiltshire Thatcher: a Photographic Journey through Victorian Wessex.
The image on the Led Zeppelin IV album cover is colorized and appears in a frame. It was reportedly spotted by Robert Plant in an antique shop near Jimmy Page‘s house.
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