Clark Gable as Rhett Butler and Vivien Leigh as Scarlett O'Hara in 'Gone with the Wind'

© Reserved; Collection National Portrait Gallery, London

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Clark Gable as Rhett Butler and Vivien Leigh as Scarlett O'Hara in 'Gone with the Wind'

by Clarence Sinclair Bull
modern bromide print, 1939
13 7/8 in. x 11 1/8 in. (354 mm x 282 mm) image size
Given by an unknown source, 1989
Photographs Collection
NPG x35326

Sittersback to top

  • Clark Gable (1901-1960), Actor. Sitter in 1 portrait.
  • Vivien Leigh (1913-1967), Actress. Sitter associated with 147 portraits.

Artistback to top

This portraitback to top

Many of the most iconic publicity portraits for Gone With the Wind were taken by the head of the MGM stills department, Clarence Sinclair Bull. Bull recalled: 'We had been waiting for over an hour for Vivien Leigh … Clark was pacing back and forth… “I couldn't make love to that dame now if she were the most beautiful woman in the world!” And then, a rustle of silk, the sweet smell of lilacs and there was the most beautiful woman in the world, standing behind him, touching his shoulder, whispering like a summer breeze… Gable turned and looked. Leigh looked back … Slowly Rhett Butler took Scarlett O'Hara by the arm … talking and smiling as though they'd known each other all their lives.'

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Events of 1939back to top

Current affairs

Britain goes to war. The German invasion of Poland demonstrated that the policy of appeasement had failed. After refusing to meet Britain's ultimatum to withdraw troops, Britain and France declared war on Germany. The Second World War had begun.

Art and science

The Sutton Hoo burial ship is discovered. Apparently following a dream, Mrs Pretty invited the archaeologist Basil Brown to investigate a series of burial mounds on her estate on the banks of the river Deben in Suffolk. The excavation revealed an Anglo-Saxon burial, uncovering the most significant horde of early medieval artefacts found in Britain (now housed at the British Museum).


The Second World War begins. Germany's invasion of Poland prompted Britain and France to declare war forming the core of the Allied powers. As part of the Soviet-Nazi Pact, the Soviet Union joined the war on the German side, helping, with Italy, to form the Axis Powers. Poland was soon overpowered and the Baltic Republics and Finland were invaded by the Soviet Union.

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