Own a piece of fashion history
If you grew up watching Gone With The Wind and admiring Scarlett O’Hara’s sense of style and sassy comebacks, then we have some great news for you: some of Vivien Leigh’s most prised possessions are going up for auction.
It will include never-before seen items from her private life, from clothes and jewellers to books and paintings.
Myriad pieces drawn from the city and country homes Vivien shared with her husband Laurence Oliver will give a new perspective on the actress, from her appreciation of art and patronage of Modern British artists, to her passion for books and fondness for entertaining and interior design.
Key pieces include a gold ring engraved with both her and Laurence Olivier’s names, a diamond brooch and the original script for the 1939 film Gone With The Wind.
Harry Dalmeny, Sotheby’s UK Chairman, commented: ‘This is our chance to discover the real, and unexpected, Vivien Leigh. We’re all guilty of confusing our favourite actresses with the heroines they portray, of blurring Vivien’s identity with that of Scarlett O’Hara or Blanche DuBois. But, behind the guise of the most glamorous and talked-about woman of her age we find a fine art collector, patron, even a book worm, who was the intellectual equal of the literati, artists and aesthetes she counted among her coterie.
‘Her private collection does not disappoint. Vivien approached the decoration of her homes as if she were designing a set, incorporating influences and inspiration from a life spent on screen and on stage. These houses were an extension of the theatrical space, with medieval Notley Abbey looking positively Shakespearean. 50 years on from her death, this sale opens the door into Vivien’s private world, allowing us a privileged and fascinating glimpse into a world that otherwise only her closest friends could ever have known.’