Gone With The Wind star Vivien Leigh's family auction off items which reveal the passion behind her great love affair with Sir Laurence Olivier

11:47 • 12.07.17



Gone With The Wind star Vivien Leigh's family auction off items which reveal the passion behind her great love affair with Sir Laurence Olivier, the Daily Mail reports.

Theirs was one of the most famous love affairs of the 20th century.


Now a treasure trove of personal items belonging to Gone With The Wind star Vivien Leigh has revealed the passion between the double Oscar winner and Sir Laurence Olivier.


Miss Leigh’s family are selling 250 items at auction, including a gold ring inscribed with the words ‘Laurence Olivier Vivien Eternally’, which is estimated to fetch £600.

 

The pair met in 1935, while married to other people, and embarked on an affair. They wed in 1940 and stayed married for 20 years.

 

Olivier described Miss Leigh as having “an attraction of the most perturbing nature I had ever encountered’, while the English actress predicted before even meeting her future husband: ‘That’s the man I’m going to marry.”


Another lot going under the hammer at Sotheby’s in London is a red chalk drawing of Miss Leigh, for a painting commissioned by Olivier. The painting was never finished because Olivier allegedly thought the artist, Augustus John, had become too infatuated with his subject.


Also being auctioned is Miss Leigh’s personal copy of the Gone With The Wind novel, given to her by author Margaret Mitchell and expected to fetch up to £7,000.


Having always been a fan of the book, the actress kept a copy close at hand while filming the movie and resented any divergence from the text.


She once said she had been “fascinated by the lovely wayward, tempestuous” Scarlett O’Hara, the character she would go on to play, from the moment she read the novel.


Miss Leigh won the first of her two Oscars for her 1939 performance, aged 26, as the feisty O’Hara.


Property from her two homes, Notley Abbey and Durham Cottage, will also be sold, including the porcelain, silver and glassware which Miss

Leigh and Olivier used to entertain guests.


Miss Leigh’s wig for her role as Southern belle Blanche DuBois in A Streetcar Named Desire, for which she won her second best actress Oscar, could fetch £600.


A Gone With The Wind film script, presented to the actress by members of the cast, could sell for more than £3,500. Sotheby’s UK chairman Harry Dalmeny said the auction was a chance “to discover the real, and unexpected Vivien Leigh”.


He added: “We’re all guilty 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 bookworm. Her private collection does not disappoint. Vivien approached the decoration of her homes as if she were designing a set. These houses were an extension of the theatrical space, with medieval Notley Abbey looking positively Shakespearean.”


Miss Leigh died in 1967, aged 53, after suffering from tuberculosis.





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