In pictures: Vivien Leigh

Recognised for her outstanding performances in Gone with the Wind (1939) and A Streetcar Named Desire (1951), the award-winning actress Vivien Leigh is now the star of an exhibition that opens this week in York


Featuring photographs and objects from the Vivien Leigh archive at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London, the exhibition will explore the public and private life of one of Britain’s first international actresses.


A prominent theme of the ‘Vivien Leigh: Public Faces, Private Lives’ exhibition is Leigh’s relationship with fellow acting sensation Laurence Olivier. The pair met on the set of the film Fire Over England in 1937, and three years later they married. Alongside images of their theatrical collaborations, the exhibition also includes a number of their love letters and private photographs.

The exhibition also features images from Leigh’s work with Marlon Brando, as well as her headdress from when she played Titania in Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Nights Dream (1937) and a Christian Dior gown she wore during the production of Duel of Angels (1958).

Here, we take a sneak peek at some of the items on show at the exhibition…


Vivien Leigh as Titania in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Old Vic Theatre, London, 1937. Photograph by J. W. Debenham. (© Victoria and Albert Museum, London)


Theatre programme for A Streetcar Named Desire, 1949. (© Victoria and Albert Museum, London/V.L. Archive)


Vivien Leigh and Laurence Olivier in Fire Over England, 1936. (© Victoria and Albert Museum, London/V.L. Archive)


Vivien Leigh in her school photograph at the Convent of the Sacred Heart, Roehampton, 1925. (© Victoria and Albert Museum, London/V.L. Archive)


Vivien Leigh on the film set of Lady Hamilton, 1941. (© Victoria and Albert Museum, London/V.L. Archive)


A costume design by Oliver Messel for Vivien Leigh as Cleopatra for the film Caesar and Cleopatra, 1945. (© Victoria and Albert Museum, London/ Oliver Messel Archive)


Vivien Leigh’s scrapbook. (© Victoria and Albert Museum, London/V.L. Archive)


Vivien Leigh in her dressing room, 1960. (© Victoria and Albert Museum, London/V.L. Archive)


Vivien Leigh swimming in George Cukor’s pool in Hollywood, 1960. (© Victoria and Albert Museum, London/V.L. Archive)


Vivien Leigh: Public Faces, Private Lives will open from 19 September to 20 December 2015 at Treasurer’s House in York. To find out more, click here.