The First Art Newspaper on the Net   Established in 1996 United States Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Victoria & Albert Museum acquires the archive of British film and theatre actress Vivien Leigh
Volume of press cuttings about Vivien Leigh’s role in Gone With The Wind, 1940. ©Victoria and Albert Museum, London.

LONDON.- The V&A announced that it has acquired the archive of the British film and theatre actress Vivien Leigh (1913-1967) in the centenary year of her birth. The archive comprises many never-before-seen records including affectionate letters between Laurence Olivier and Leigh, correspondence from some of the most eminent names in 20th-century history including Winston Churchill, Graham Greene and Noël Coward, as well as personal diaries and photographs, visitor books, Leigh’s annotated film and theatre scripts, press clippings and her numerous awards.

Born in Darjeeling, India and educated in Europe, Vivien Leigh was an internationally recognised actress who won two Academy Awards for her roles in Gone with the Wind (1939) and A Streetcar Named Desire (1951) and enjoyed a distinguished stage career spanning 30 years. Married to actor Laurence Olivier from 1940-1960, the celebrated couple co-starred in plays and films and were greeted on their various tours with the enthusiasm generally reserved for visiting royalty. As well as the professional contacts they made through their stage work, they entertained a wide circle of guests at Notley Abbey, the home in Buckinghamshire they created in 1943. An impressive list of signatures ranging from Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall, Sir Alec Guinness to Bette Davis, Orson Welles, Judy Garland and Rex Harrison is recorded in their visitors’ book.

The archive was acquired by the V&A through Robert Holden Ltd from Vivien Leigh’s grandchildren. It covers all aspects of her career and personal life from when she was young to her death, including her diaries begun as a 16-year-old in 1929 and maintained until the end of her life in 1967. Notably, the archive explores the grand love affair between Leigh and Laurence Olivier and contains more than 200 letters, telegrams, photographs, newspaper clippings and postcards between 1938 and 1967. During April-June 1939, whilst Olivier was playing in No Time for Comedy on Broadway in New York and Leigh was shooting Gone with the Wind in Los Angeles, a total of 40 letters were exchanged between the couple. Full of theatrical observations and comment, their correspondence is also concerned with the foundation of the National Theatre.

Martin Roth, Director of the V&A said: “Vivien Leigh is undoubtedly one of the UK’s greatest luminaries of stage and screen and along with Laurence Olivier, remains a true star of her time. We are thrilled to acquire her archive intact in this centenary year of her birth and to be able to make it available to the public for the first time. It not only represents Vivien Leigh’s life and career, but is also a fascinating insight into the theatrical and social world that surrounded her. The V&A is the natural home for the archive as there are so many links to other areas of the collection, from the costume designs in the Oliver Messel collection to the costumes worn by Leigh in Duel of Angels, designed by Christian Dior.”

Vivien Leigh meticulously kept more than 7,500 personal letters from friends and colleagues addressed to both her and Laurence Olivier. The archive uncovers correspondence with T. S. Eliot, Arthur Miller and Marilyn Monroe, Winston Churchill, Edith Sitwell and with Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother who offers her thanks to the couple for remembering her. Professional correspondence includes many letters from playwright Tennessee Williams and one addressed to Leigh in September 1950 enthuses about her role of Blanche DuBois: “It is needless to repeat here my truly huge happiness over the picture and particularly your part in it. It is the Blanche I had always dreamed of and I am grateful to you for bringing it so beautifully to life on the screen.” In a particularly revealing letter addressed to film director Elia Kazan during preparation for this role, Leigh states “You do know that when I said over the phone I'm worried about the way I'll look, 'I didn't mean good I meant right”.

There are photographs including albums of large format stills from Gone with the Wind and Romeo and Juliet that have never before been publicly displayed, and an extensive collection of stereoscopic transparencies taken by Leigh herself whilst on tour in the USA, Australia, New Zealand and the UK. These personal photographs reveal the social world that surrounded her as well as behind the scenes of the theatres in which she performed.

A changing selection of material from the archive will be on display in the V&A’s Theatre and Performance Galleries from autumn 2013. The V&A will make the archive available for research for the very first time once cataloguing has been complete and digital records will also be available on Search the Collections.

A free lunchtime lecture Vivien Leigh: Role Model or Victim Figure? will take place on 13 November at the V&A. Writer Jayne Sheridan will recount Leigh’s story of ambition and beauty (no booking required).

Today's News

August 22, 2013

"The Appearance: Shine, Glamour, Illusion" opens at the Kestnergesellschaft in Hanover

Kunsthaus Zurich restores French artist Antoine Bourdelle's bronze sculpture 'Sappho'

Stolen 16th century "astronomical computer" returned to Skokloster Castle near Stockholm

Victoria & Albert Museum acquires the archive of British film and theatre actress Vivien Leigh

Graphic masterworks: 100 years of influential poster design offered at Christie's

Berlin to build museum for 20th century masterpieces donated by Ulla and Heiner Pietzsch

Spanish artist Cecilia Gimenez to share riches from botched restoration of a painting of Christ

Into the West: The Annenberg Commission by Thomas Molesworth to be offered at Christie's

Pink makeover for Warsaw Pact invasion of Czechoslovakia monument in Bulgaria

Substantial donation from Art & Project/Depot VBVR Collection to the Kröller-Müller Museum

'King of Coins' 1804 Silver Dollar sells for more than $3.8 million at Heritage Auctions

Ketterer Kunst in Berlin-Charlottenburg to show a selection of graphic works by Arnulf Rainer

Property from the Estate of Phyllis Diller-The First Lady of Comedy to go to auction

Rare Wemyss sleeping pig fetches £10,000 at auction

Summer Collective Part II exhibition opens at Bertrand Delacroix Gallery

Dallas Museum of Art appoints Kimberly L. Jones as Assistant Curator

Exhibition of works by Alexis Hunter and Jo Spence opens at Richard Saltoun Gallery

Crystal Bridges welcomes new Executive Chef and Membership Manager

Eritrea's unique architecture under threat

ICA Art Rules launches live to the public

Most Popular Last Seven Days

1.- Boy and an amateur archaeologist unearth legendary Danish king's trove in Germany

2.- Exhibition at The Met illustrates what visitors encountered at The palace of Versailles

3.- Philadelphia Museum of Art opens "Modern Times: American Art 1910-1950"

4.- Exhibition at Michael Hoppen Gallery presents a cross-section of works from Thomas Mailaender's career

5.- New York's Chelsea Hotel celebrity door auction raises $400,000

6.- Stevie Ray Vaughan's first guitar drives Entertainment & Music Memorabilia Auction to nearly $2.9 million

7.- Lichtenstein's Nude with Blue Hair tops $2.4 million sale of Modern & Contemporary Prints & Multiples

8.- $6.7 million Fancy Intense Blue Diamond sets auction record at Sotheby's New York

9.- Mexico court blocks sales of controversial Frida Kahlo Barbie doll

10.- Dutch museums to conduct new research on the paintings of Pieter de Hooch

Museums, Exhibits, Artists, Milestones, Digital Art, Architecture, Photography,
Photographers, Special Photos, Special Reports, Featured Stories, Auctions, Art Fairs,
Anecdotes, Art Quiz, Education, Mythology, 3D Images, Last Week, .


Ignacio Villarreal
Editor & Publisher:Jose Villarreal - Consultant: Ignacio Villarreal Jr.
Art Director: Juan José Sepúlveda Ramírez

Royalville Communications, Inc
Founder's Site. The most varied versions
of this beautiful prayer.
to a Mexican poet.

The First Art Newspaper on the Net. The Best Versions Of Ave Maria Song Junco de la Vega Site Ignacio Villarreal Site
Tell a Friend
Dear User, please complete the form below in order to recommend the Artdaily newsletter to someone you know.
Please complete all fields marked *.
Sending Mail
Sending Successful