V&A Snap Up Vivien Leigh Archive - Never Before Seen Items Set To go on Show

The V&A have acquired a real boon in addition to their already impressive material: the archive of Oscar-winning British actress Vivien Leigh. Material from the archive, acquired by the V&A from Leigh's grandchildren, will be on display from this autumn, The BBC report.

"It really explores the life of one of Great Britain's most celebrated performers," curator Keith Lodwick told the BBC. "The archive has never been publicly available before so we're discovering nuggets of information about Vivien Leigh that haven't been documented before and have given a fresh insight to her life."

The archive is a comprehensive record of her startling career, including 7,500 letters to and from people like TS Eliot, Marilyn Monroe, Winston Churchill and the Queen Mother. A letter from playwright Tennessee Williams - written in 1950 – was full of praise for her Oscar-winning role in the film version of his play A Streetcar Named Desire.

"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," he wrote.

"It's an extraordinary who's who of mid-century theatre and film," Mr Lodwick said. "Imagine to have been a fly on the wall for those parties. There are also really beautiful backstage photographs that have never been published before, as well as photographs taken by Leigh herself when she was touring North America with Duel of Angels. She photographed herself on location and with friends at dinner - and they're all in colour which is quite rare."


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