Auction News | All | Movie & TV memorabilia

Sotheby’s to auction the personal collection of Vivien Leigh

The personal collection of the legendary actress Vivien Leigh will be offered for sale at Sotheby’s this September.
The auction, which takes place in London on September 26, will include paintings, jewellery, vintage fashion, personal memorabilia, books and antiques which have remained with Leigh’s family ever since she passed away in 1967.

Highlights will include the actress’ personal copy of Gone with the Wind, given to her by the author Margaret Mitchell; the wig she wore on-screen in A Streetcar Named Desire; and objects from her two former homes at Notley Abbey and Durham Cottage.

Leigh began her career on the big screen in the 1930s, and was once described as "the most beautiful woman of her age" – although she often felt that her looks prevented her from being taken seriously as an actress.

She became a Hollywood icon playing two of the most famous female characters in movie history: as Scarlett O’Hara in Gone With the Wind, and Blanche DuBois in A Streetcar Named Desire.

Although she won Academy Awards for both performances, Leigh’s first love remained the theatre, and she starred in numerous productions alongside her second husband Laurence Olivier.

Throughout her life Leigh also suffered from bi-polar disorder and bouts of chronic tuberculosis, which eventually claimed her life at the age of just 53.

"This is our chance to discover the real, and unexpected, Vivien Leigh," said Harry Dalmeny, Sotheby’s UK Chairman.

"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. Fifty 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."

Just Collecting