2 of 144 portraits of Vivien Leigh
by Madame Yevonde
colour dye transfer print, 1936
19 in. x 12 1/2 in. (484 mm x 317 mm) uneven
Artistback to top
- Madame Yevonde (1893-1975), Photographer. Artist associated with 332 portraits, Sitter in 8 portraits.
This portraitback to top
Yevonde was at the peak of her success when this image of Leigh was made. The previous year she had held An Intimate Exhibition: Goddesses and Others at her premises in Berkeley Square. She continued to use the innovative Vivex Carbro colour process fulfilling her own dictum, 'Be original or die' until the outbreak of the Second World War.
Linked publicationsback to top
- 100 Photographs, 2018, p. 5 Read entry
British actress Vivien Leigh (1913-67) became a household name playing Scarlett O’Hara in the Hollywood film Gone with the Wind (1939). Her marriage the following year to Laurence Olivier placed her at the heart of British theatre. Among many successes was her portrayal on stage and screen of Blanche DuBois in A Streetcar Named Desire (1951), which earned her a second Oscar. In this portrait, society photographer Madame Yevonde (1893-1975) exploits the intense colours produced by the Vivex process. This involved three quarterplate negatives, separated into the colours magenta, cyan and yellow and recombined in printing. Yevonde stated: ‘If we are going to have colour photographs, for heaven’s sake let’s have a riot of colour, none of your wishy-washy hand-tinted effects.’
- Gibson, Robert; Roberts, Pam, Madame Yevonde: Colour, Fantasy & Myth, 1990 (accompanying the exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery from 20 July - 1 October 1990), p. 63
- Saywell, David; Simon, Jacob, Complete Illustrated Catalogue, 2004, p. 375
Events of 1936back to top
Current affairsFollowing the death of his father George V, Edward succeeds to the throne as King Edward VIII, but chooses to abdicate in order to marry the American divorcee, Wallis Simpson. Edward was the only monarch every to voluntarily relinquish the throne.
Art and scienceThe Spitfire, designed by Reginald Mitchell, has its maiden flight. The RAF and other allied forces used the plane extensively and to great effect during the Second World War.
Television broadcasting begins. Although the BBC had been transmitting television since 1930, regular service did not begin until 1936, when the 'BBC Television Service' (now BBC One) was broadcast from Alexandra Palace.
InternationalThe Spanish Civil War begins. Nationalists, led by General Francisco Franco, and supported by Italian and German fascist governments, rebelled against the Second Spanish Republic. The conflict lasted until 1939, and anticipated many of the features of the Second World War: fighting between Communists and Fascists, the rise of nationalism and the use of terror tactics against civilians.
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