Audrey Hepburn: Unseen portraits of an icon

These are just stunning

The National Portrait Gallery’s dazzling Audrey Hepburn exhibition captured the icon’s innate star quality to perfection.

‘Audrey Hepburn: Portraits of an Icon’ showcased rare and – for many of us – never seen before photographs of one of the most lyrically beautiful stars who ever graced the silver screen.

Guiding us through her life (1929-1993) from the very early years as a London show girl, to Hollywood and later to her philanthropic work in later life, the carefully selected collection of over seventy photographs worked to shed new light on an icon whose image is instantly recognisable the world over.

And the breathtaking images certainly do that.

The real beauty of this collection of images is the juxtaposition: we see recognisable, iconic Hepburn at work yet we also catch those rare, behind-the-scenes glimpses too, catching time spent quietly with her family. Whereas some photographs are whimsical and ethereal (as you would expect) arguably the truly joyous shots are when Hepburn was at her most playful and spritely.

In this selection of photographs we see Audrey Hepburn in all her guises – each one as astonishingly beautiful as the next: From Cecil Beaton in 1960 to Douglas Kirkland in 1966 and onwards to that glorious Erwin Blumenfeld composition in 1952 – Audrey, like infinite reflections of Odette stretching back and back…

One word? Heavenly.

Audrey Hepburn by Philippe Halsman for LIFE magazine, 1954 ©Philipe Halsman/Magnum Photos

Audrey Hepburn in Rome by Cecil Beaton, 1960 ©The Cecil Beaton Studio Archive at Sotheby’s

Audrey Hepburn on location in Africa for The Nun’s Story by Leo Fuchs, 1958 ©Leo Fuchs

Audrey Hepburn dressed in Givenchy with sunglasses by Oliver Goldsmith by Douglas Kirkland, 1966 © Iconic Images/Douglas Kirkland


Audrey Hepburn by Erwin Blumenfeld, 1952 ©The Estate of Erwin Blumenfeld

Dance recital photograph by Manon van Suchtelen, 1942 ©Reserved

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