London’s Sotheby’s legendary auction house is shining a spotlight on one of hollywoods brightest stars this coming September. The iconic actress Vivien Leigh, best known for her performance as Scarlett O’Hara in the all time classic film Gone With The Wind has amassed in her lifetime a collection comprised of paintings, jewelry, couture, books, furniture, porcelain and objets d’art. All of which will be auctioned on September 26 in what will undoubtedly be a competitive event for the elite group of collectors invited.
First Look: The Vivien Leigh Collection, courtesy of Sotheby’s.
Behind her persuasive guises, Leigh was a lady of many passions and discreetly selected the few whom she considered close friends.The exhibition on view since July 11th, conceived as an exploit to reveal who she really was has left the public at the mercy of a greater mystery. Gathering the departed’s enchanted possessions is only magnifying the air of her absence.
Fifty years on from her death, the 250 lots are being offered for sale. Among them are items that played a significant part in the realization of her movies such as the original manuscript of Gone With The Wind as well as Leigh’s personal copy of Margaret Mitchell’s novel which the movie is based on. Leigh did not part with this book during the shooting and preferred that the adaptation remain completely faithful to it.
Attire and accessories from her personal wardrobe and costumes for film list articles such as a beautiful pink full length evening dress by designer Circa, a gold ring inscribed “Laurence Olivier Vivien Eternally” symbolizing her lifetime devotion to her star soulmate Mr. Olivier and the unforgettable wig she wore in Tennessee Williams masterpiece A streetcar named Desire.
It’s safe to say however that this show mainly emphasizes her life long engagements with the Arts. Leigh was a fervent art collector whose scope of interest extended to all parts of the world. A couple paintings depicting her quotidian stand out as testimonies to her lavish lifestyle. The residences she shared with her partner: Durham Cottage commissioned by Felix Kelly and Notley Abbey by John Piper.
Last but not least, the actress’s friendship to Winston Churchill was the fruit of a precious artistic exchange. Churchill’s book Painting As a Pastime informed Leigh about the therapeutic benefits of painting.The auction includes a still life by winston Churchill entitled Roses in a Glass Vase which he gifted her on her birthday and the actress’s own attempt at painting, a piece entitled Italian Landscape.
Sotheby’s UK Chairman, Harry Dalmeny declares that she designed her life and home as if it were a movie set, as if she was staring in the movie of her life. The collection is a reflexion of Leigh’s virtuosity. One is left mired with whimsy at her blatant gift of recognizing esthetic and intrinsic beauty.
The Vivien Leigh Collection
26 SEPTEMBER 2017 | 2:00 PM BST | LONDON