Vivien Leigh was one of the most iconic and admired actresses of the 20th century, acclaimed for her exceptional talent and her captivating beauty. From a young age she was interested in acting and played countless roles on the West End stages before being catapulted to international fame for her role as Scarlett O’Hara in “Gone with the Wind” (1939), the highest grossing films in the history of cinema.
From the beginning of her romance and subsequent marriage to the great British star of that moment, Sir Laurence Olivier, all the spotlight has been on the most outstanding couple on the London stage. Both performed with great success on the big screen during Hollywood’s heyday as well, indulging in roles that would define an entire generation and cement their reputations as two of the brightest stars. Vivien would be awarded a second Oscar for her performance as Blanche Dubois in the acclaimed adaptation of Tennessee Williams’ “A Streetcar Named Desire” (1951), a film that puts the then-unknown Marlon Brando on the map.
It can be said that one of Vivien Leigh’s most inveterate admirers was the young Barcelonan Elvira Clara Bonet, who saw the movie “Gone with the Wind” during its premiere at the now-defunct Unión cinema and was deeply impressed with the role of the actress. The young dreamer would begin to write letters and send roses to Vivien Leigh regularly, this would be the beginning of a relationship that would span more than a decade. Eventually Elvira Clara’s dream comes true and Vivien Leigh agrees to receive her at her London residence on up to two occasions.
Following the tragic death of Vivien Leigh in 1967 , caused by the effects of chronic tuberculosis, Elvira Clara Bonet start a friendship relation to the actress’s family and her Spanish maid Domitila. In attention to the affection and devotion to the figure of Vivien Leigh professed by his great admirer, the family presents him with photographs and personal belongings of great sentimental value, which will be tendered by Setdart on May 26.
Never-before-seen photos of the couple swimming naked; glasses belonging to the attrezzo of his latest filming “El Barco de los Locos”; the personal agenda of the year of his death with annotations in his own handwriting; a nightgown; as well as the correspondence between Elvira Clara and the actress … The intimate nature of these objects opens a window to discover a private aspect of Vivien Leigh’s life, beyond the myth. It is enough to leaf through the pages of her diary to appreciate the rhythm of the busy social and professional life that characterizes her until the last minute. Handbags, shoes, and nail polishes reveal the care she pays for her physical appearance, as well as the natural elegance for which she is known. Small works of art such as a 17th-century Italian sanguine shed light on the actress’s fondness for surrounding herself with beautiful objects. Through each piece we can evoke a small moment of the daily life of the great actress and woman.
Vivien Leigh’s charismatic personality, dramatic personal story, and extraordinary talent, coupled with her historical momentum, continues to fascinate generations of fans and collectors to this day. .