“Trevor Key’s Top 40”

Press Release

Part of Hull UK City of Culture, 2017

Born in Hull, where he also attended art college, Trevor Key (1947-1995), was a hugely influential and respected photographer who worked primarily in the music industry.

Key’s most iconic sleeve is perhaps Mike Oldfield’s ‘Tubular Bells’, though he would also produce work for Can, Tangerine Dream and even Derek and Clive. Key’s work is notable for its collaborative nature, working with Brian Cooke (as Cooke Key Associates), Jamie Reid on the later Sex Pistols’ releases, and most famously on a series of brilliant sleeves for New Order with art director Peter Saville; with whom he also produced work for Section 25, OMD and Peter Gabriel amongst others.

"Trevor Key's Top 40" will showcase 40 of the photographer’s greatest record sleeves in a display case designed and built for this exhibition by British artist Matthew Darbyshire.

The exhibition opens on 20 September 2017 at Hull School of Art and Design, then through until December at various libraries in Hull.

This exhibition has been organised by Scott King, Lesley Dilcock and Toby McFarlan Pond in cooperation with Hull UK City of Culture 2017’s Creative Communities Programme, Hull School of Art and Design, and Hull Libraries.

Dates and opening event:

Start date: 6pm, Weds 20th September, Brodrick Gallery, Hull School of Art & Design, Queen’s Gardens, Hull. Forum /discussion of Key’s work: 7pm - 8pm, Weds 20th September. Confirmed participants: Patrick Burgoyne (Editor, Creative Review), Ian Anderson (The Designers Republic), Toby McFarlan Pond (photographer) and Scott King (graphic designer).

Forum /discussion of Key’s work: 7pm - 8pm, Weds 20th September. Confirmed participants: Patrick Burgoyne (Editor, Creative Review), Ian Anderson (The Designers Republic), Toby McFarlan Pond (photographer) and Scott King (graphic designer).

Supporting Statements:

“Trevor was my best friend and most important collaborator from the day we met” - Peter Saville, art director for Joy Division / New Order et al.

“In his work for the Sex Pistols and Mike Oldfield, to name but two, Trevor Key mixed technical excellence and precision with a clear sense of fun and mischief. His images remain iconic and set a benchmark that very few others have reached” - Jon Savage, author of ‘England’s Dreaming’

“Trevor had the rare ability to distil the disordered and chaotic world around him into a beautifully clear yet vital simplicity” - Nick Knight, photographer and director of Showstudio.com

“Trevor was a wonderful photographer. In his quiet, gentle humoured way he would find ways to make those he was shooting relaxed, enabling him to capture natural moments in a very precise manner” - Peter Gabriel, rock musician

“The photographs of Trevor Key have been a huge inspiration to me. I first came across them on the record sleeves for New Order in the late 1980’s. What impressed me most was their playfulness, stemming from a deep curiosity for the marvels of the photographic process. This was expressed with conceptual rigour, through intelligent groupings, pairings and innovative presentations, using record covers as a venue for fine art photography” - Wolfgang Tillmans, artist

“Trevor Key was a visionary and giant of the music industry with his photography appearing on some of the most iconic album covers of all time. To be able to exhibit this amazing collection in his home town as part of the Hull 2017 programme is really special” - Martin Green, Director of Hull 2017

Creative Review article and film:


For further information please contact:

Steve Phillips



Trevor Key’s Top 40 is one of 60 new projects to receive funding through the Hull 2017 Creative Communities Programme, which is being delivered in partnership with the Big Lottery Fund, a Principal Partner of Hull 2017. A total of £750,000 is being invested in the programme, which was set up to celebrate, nurture and support local talent and develop opportunities for emerging artists. In addition to cash from Hull 2017 and the Big Lottery Fund, the projects will receive staff support to build capacity in the arts sector, helping to create a legacy. The Creative Communities Programme is also being supported by Hull and East Riding Charitable Trust. The projects - which range from photography exhibitions to music and food festivals and choral and orchestral concerts to audio-visual installations - will see local artists, community groups, cultural and other organisations in the city working with local people of all ages to create new artistic work, events, installations and other activity throughout 2017. For a full list of projects visit: https://www.hull2017.co.uk/discover/article/sixty-community-projects-inspire-creativity-across-hull-2/