Starring Vivien Leigh: A Centenary Celebration
Past display archive
30 November 2013 - 27 July 2014
Vivien Leigh as Lady Hamilton in 'That Hamilton Woman'
by Robert Coburn, or by Laszlo Willinger
Telling the story of the film and theatre career of the celebrated actress Vivien Leigh, and focusing on her Oscar-winning role in Gone With the Wind (1939), this display features over 50 portraits of Leigh including rare vintage photographs, magazine covers, vintage film stills and press books. Many of the photographs in the display have not been exhibited at the Gallery before and include works by leading photographers such as James Abbe Jr, Bassano, Cecil Beaton, Clarence Sinclair Bull, Howard Coster, Angus McBean, Norman Parkinson, Sasha, Laszlo Willinger and Madame Yevonde.
Leigh was one of the most famous women of the twentieth century. For twenty years, with her husband Laurence Olivier, she was part of the most celebrated, talented and glamorous British couples of the era. Her most famous performance, as Scarlett O’Hara in Gone With the Wind, brought her worldwide recognition and the first of two Academy Awards. The second Oscar was for the 1951 film production of Tennessee Williams’ play A Streetcar Named Desire, starring opposite Marlon Brando.
Photographs in this display spanLeigh’s career, beginning with a still of her first un-credited film performance in Things Are Looking Up (1934) and Norman Parkinson’s studio portrait taken at the time of her stage success in The Mask of Virtue (1935), and ending with her last film role in Stanley Kramer’s Ship of Fools (1965), for which she received the French Crystal Dove award as best actress.
Other theatrical and film roles represented in the display include her first appearance with her future husband Laurence Olivier in Fire Over England (1937); Leigh with Rex Harrison in Storm in a Teacup (1937); Leigh in two Hollywood films, with Robert Taylor in Waterloo Bridge (1940) and as Nelson’s mistress Lady Hamilton with Olivier in That Hamilton Woman (1941); and her role in the most expensive British film, at the time, Gabriel Pascal’s production of George Bernard Shaw’s Caesar and Cleopatra (1945). This display celebrates the centenary of one of the enduring stars of the twentieth century.
© National Portrait Gallery, London
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- Vivien Leigh (NPG P742)
- Vivien Leigh as Blanche DuBois in 'A Streetcar Named Desire' (NPG P902)
- Vivien Leigh (NPG P62)
- Vivien Leigh (NPG x19225)
- Vivien Leigh as Cynthia in 'Fire Over England' (NPG x19527)
- Laurence Olivier and Vivien Leigh in 'Fire Over England' (NPG x139795)
- Laurence Olivier and Vivien Leigh (NPG x36099)
- Vivien Leigh (NPG x30432)
- Vivien Leigh as Libby in 'St Martin's Lane' (NPG x139796)
- Vivien Leigh as Libby and Charles Laughton as Charles Staggers in 'St Martin's Lane' (NPG x139797)
- Clark Gable as Rhett Butler and Vivien Leigh as Scarlett O'Hara in 'Gone with the Wind' (NPG x35326)
- Vivien Leigh; Laurence Olivier (NPG x88923)
- Vivien Leigh as Myra and Robert Taylor as Roy Cronin in 'Waterloo Bridge' (NPG x139798)
- Vivien Leigh as Myra and Robert Taylor as Roy Cronin in 'Waterloo Bridge' (NPG x139799)
- Vivien Leigh as Lady Hamilton in 'That Hamilton Woman' (NPG x128515)
- Vivien Leigh (NPG x19993)
- Vivien Leigh as Cleopatra on the set of 'Caesar and Cleopatra' (NPG x14129)
- Vivien Leigh (NPG x137968)
- Vivien Leigh as Anna Karenina in 'Anna Karenina' (NPG x139800)
- Vivien Leigh as Blanche DuBois in 'A Streetcar Named Desire' (NPG x139801)
- Vivien Leigh as Hester Collyer in 'The Deep Blue Sea' (NPG x139802)
- Vivien Leigh as Hester Collyer and Kenneth More as Freddie Page in 'The Deep Blue Sea' (NPG x139803)
- Vivien Leigh; Kay Kendall; Sir Noël Coward; Lauren Bacall (NPG x139808)
- Vivien Leigh and Warren Beatty in 'The Roman Spring of Mrs Stone' (NPG x139804)
- Jeremy Spenser as young man and Vivien Leigh as Karen Stone in 'The Roman Spring of Mrs Stone' (NPG x139805)
- Vivien Leigh and Ringo Starr at London Airport (NPG x139809)
- Vivien Leigh as Mary Treadwell in 'Ship of Fools' (NPG x139806)
- Simone Signoret; Vivien Leigh (NPG x139807)
- Vivien Leigh at a reading of 'La Contessa' (NPG x139811)
- John Gielgud; Vivien Leigh (NPG x139812)
- Vivien Leigh at the French Crystal Dove Award, Paris (NPG x139810)
- Laurence Olivier and Vivien Leigh in 'Romeo and Juliet' (NPG x137669)