This September, fifty years after her death, a spotlight will reveal the inner person few people really knew, in effect Vivien’s private life, when Sotheby's London brings to auction The Vivien Leigh Collection.
Hollywood icon and incandescent star of one of the most beloved films of all time, Vivien Leigh (1913-1967) captured hearts and minds with her fiery, luminous performance as Scarlett O’Hara in Gone with the Wind in 1939. Her legendary status in the pantheon of all-time greats was assured when she secured what perhaps remains to this day the most coveted role in cinema history. Our perception of such legends is often imperceptibly entwined with the myths they come to embody. This September, fifty years after her death, a spotlight will reveal the inner person few people really knew, in effect Vivien’s private life, when Sotheby's London brings to auction The Vivien Leigh Collection.
Passed down through Vivien’s family, the collection comprises paintings, jewellery, couture, books, furniture, porcelain, objets d'art and further items celebrating all aspects of her life, from the pre-war years in London, to Hollywood and beyond, up to her death in 1967. Myriad pieces drawn from the city and country homes Vivien shared with her husband Laurence Oliver will give a new perspective on Vivien, from her appreciation of art and patronage of Modern British artists, to her passion for books and fondness for entertaining and interior design.
Vivien Leigh’s family commented: “We hope people take as much pleasure from this collection as our grandparents, parents and families have done.”
In total, approximately 250 lots will be offered for sale at Sotheby’s in London on 26 September 2017, with estimates ranging from £100 to £100,000.
Hollywood Icon Vivien Leigh's personal copy of Gone with the Wind inscribed by Margaret Mitchell with a hand written poem goes on display as Sotheby's announces the sale of her personal collection at Sotheby's on July 11, 2017 in London, England. An exhibition of highlights from the auction is now open at Sotheby's in London until 11 August, ahead of the sale which will take place on 26 September 2017. (Photo by Tristan Fewings/Getty Images for Sotheby's)
Vivien Leigh’s personal copy of Gone with the Wind, given to her by the author Margaret Mitchell (est. £5,000-7,000)
Gone with the Wind, film script, presented to Vivien Leigh by members of the cast, with photographs, circa 1939 (est. £2,500-3,500)
A silver cigarette box, engraved with ‘Vivien and Larry Love Myron [Myron Selznick]’. A present from the man credited with securing Vivien with the role of Scarlett O’Hara (est. £400-600)
A gold ring inscribed 'Laurence Olivier Vivien Eternally' (est. £400-600)
Fashion and Jewels, including a pink full length evening dress by Victor Stiebel from circa 1961 (est. £200-300) and a large mid-19th-century diamond bow brooch or pendant (est. £25,000-35,000)
Vivien’s wig for the film A Streetcar Named Desire, inscribed with her name (est. £400-600)
A portrait of Vivien by Augustus John, 1942 (est. £5,000-7,000)
Notley Abbey by John Piper (est. £8,000-12,000) and Durham Cottage by Felix Kelly, 1954 (est. £3,000-5,000)
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