The man behind the iconic image of Lennon, 78-year-old Robert Freeman, is in poor health and his family is hoping to raise funds for his care by selling off the 1965 snap.

Freeman's son Dean hopes the sale of the picture will bring in enough money to help his dad through his health crisis and preserve for future generations his celebrity picture archive, which is currently housed in a leaking garage.

He tells the London Evening Standard, "My father is extremely frail, living alone in a small hostel and is in desperate need of care. He can no longer look after his valuable archive of work... All proceeds of our exclusive sale will help him recuperate and preserve his wonderful images and stories. It would be heartbreaking to see this irreplaceable body of work lost to future generations."

Robert Freeman is best known for his images of The Beatles during their 1960s heyday, shooting covers for albums including With the Beatles, Beatles for Sale, Help! and Rubber Soul. His other subjects included Hollywood legends Charlton Heston and Sophia Loren, and he also shot the first Pirelli calendar in 1964.