Jewels belonging to Gone With The Wind star Vivien Leigh will go under the hammer alongside some of the actress’ most prized personal possessions.
Earrings, a charm bracelet, and a wrist watch gifted by husband Sir Laurence Olivier are among the dazzling lots that recall the glamour of Hollywood’s Golden Age.
The jewellery, as well as paintings, couture clothing, books and furniture once belonging to the actress have been passed down through her family and will now be auctioned by Sotheby’s in London later this month.
David Macdonald of Sotheby’s told FEMAIL: ‘These objects are not the most valuable but they have a bit of magic. They have that link with one of the greatest Hollywood icons of the 20th century.’
Treasured possessions: Actress Vivien Leigh’s jewellery will go under the hammer alongside pieces of clothing, books and artwork at an auction at Sotheby’s in London later this month
Thoughtful gifts: A number of the pieces were engraved and given as gifts by her husband Sir Laurence Olivier during their 20-year marriage. Pictured, the couple together in 1956
Among the most remarkable pieces is a 1940s charm bracelet treasured by Leigh.
The tokens include a miniature gold engraved script from Gone With the Wind, the film for which she won the first of her two Oscars. It also features a locket bearing a photo of her in character as Lady Hamilton from the 1941 film That Hamilton Woman.
It is expected to fetch between £1,000 and £1,500 at auction.
Mr Macdonald said: ‘Charm bracelets are very personal, they are a talisman that are very close to you. It is really compelling. It says a lot without saying much, it is quite powerful.’
The auction will also include a number of pieces given by Sir Laurence. 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, becoming a Hollywood power couple.
Talisman: A charm bracelet belonging to Leigh is one of the most ‘magical’ lots on offer. Among the trinkets is a miniature engraved gold script from Gone With The Wind (seen top right)
Sentimental: Another charm is a locket containing a portrait of Leigh in character as Lady Hamilton from 1941’s That Hamilton Woman, in which she starred opposite Sir Laurence (right)
Gift: This watch was given to Leigh by Olivier for Christmas 1940, their first together as a married couple. The back is engraved with their names, the date and the words ‘only darling’
For their first Christmas as a married couple, Olivier gifted his beloved ‘Viv’ a wristwatch engraved with their names and the words ‘only darling’.
The gold timepiece, which could sell for up to £1,200, was often seen on the actress in private and in public, even after the end of their marriage.
Mr Macdonald added: ‘[He gave this to her at] the height of the war, it is not long after they’ve got married. What’s very telling about his piece is she wore this all her life, even after marriage ended. You see this watch in some of her latest films.
‘It is quite telling that she chose to keep this. Again, there is a sense of it being a talisman. It’s not hugely valuable but it is desperately evocative.’
The most valuable piece of jewellery is a diamond bow brooch valued at between £25,000 and £35,000.
Dazzling: The most valuable piece of jewellery is a diamond bow brooch valued at between £25,000 and £35,000
Romantic: This engraved gold ring is engraved with the words: ‘Laurence Olivier Vivien Eternally’. There is speculation that the piece is the wedding ring from their 1940 marriage
Leigh died in 1967, aged just 53, in London, after suffering from tuberculosis. The jewellery was passed down to Leigh’s only child, Suzanne Farrington, who in turn left the pieces to her three sons upon her death in 2015.
It was kept inside a leather jewellery case, which will also be auctioned.
The case is believed to have been gifted to Leigh on 12 October 1949, the opening night of her West End performance of A Streetcar Named Desire at the Aldwych Theatre. The theatrical production of Tennessee Williams’ play was directed by Olivier, whom was possibly the giver of this present.
Other items going on sale include Leigh’s personal copy of the Gone With The Wind novel, given to her by its author Margaret Mitchell and expected to fetch up to £7,000.
The jewellery will go on sale alongside hundreds of Leigh’s personal possessions including this 1961 evening dress designed by Stiebel
Leigh died in 1967, aged just 53, in London, after suffering from tuberculosis
Among the items is this Gone With The Wind film script, which was presented to the actress by members of the cast, and could sell for more than £3,500
Other items up for auction include a silver cigarette box given to Leigh, then a relatively unknown actress, by the man credited with securing her the role of heroine O’Hara.
Leigh’s pink, full length, evening dress is expected to fetch up to £300 and a diamond bow pendant could fetch £35,000.
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 provided the chance ‘to discover the real, and unexpected Vivien Leigh’.
‘We’re all guilty of…. blurring Vivien’s identity with that of Scarlet O’Hara or Blanche DuBois,’ he said.
Leigh’s 19th Century dressing table (£900) and books from the couple’s library are among the highlights
Vivien Leigh’s personal copy of ‘Gone With The Wind’ inscribed by its author Margaret Mitchell with a hand written poem on display at Sotheby’s
‘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. Vivien approached the decoration of her homes as if she were designing a set, incorporating influences and inspiration from a life spent on screen and on stage.
‘These houses were an extension of the theatrical space, with medieval Notley Abbey looking positively Shakespearean.
‘Fifty years on from her death, this sale opens the door into Vivien’s private world, allowing us a … fascinating glimpse into a world that otherwise only her closest friends could ever have known.’
Her family added: ‘We hope people take as much pleasure from this collection as our grandparents, parents and families have done.’
The auction will take place at Sotheby’s in London on September 26.