Vivien Leigh @ National Portrait Gallery

100 years ago an icon was born. Vivien Hartley, later to be known by her stage name Vivien Leigh became a darling across Hollywood screens and is now being celebrated in a beautiful collection of photographs at the National Portrait Gallery.

Most famous for her role in Gone With the Wind, the exhibition includes photographs from the beginning to the end of the actress’s life. Many of the images are stunning black and white editions of Leigh’s undeniable beauty. However, there are many reproductions which have been coloured in, giving them a 21st century feel.

Leigh’s fame was global, and my mother, born in Beirut, was named after the British star. Leigh had won two academy awards and was a much celebrated actress. The photographs are a testament to a world of glamour which seems a little lost in our modern lives. Included are images of Leigh with husband Laurence Olivier; a former power couple. Within the pictures and newspaper and magazine cuttings on show, you really get a sense of how much of a celebrity Leigh was, and how much speculation and wonder surrounded her and Olivier.

Many images on display have previously been unseen, these photographs are now introducing a younger generation to a historic face and talent.

Starring Vivien Leigh: A Centenary Celebration is on display at National Portrait Gallery until 20 July 2014

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Lizzy Vartanian Collier is a London-based writer and curator. She is the founder of Gallery Girl - a London-based curatorial platform and website dedicated to modern and contemporary art from across the globe. Her work is primarily focused on supporting emerging female artists from the Middle East and the Caucasus. She has written for Canvas Magazine, Harper's Bazaar Arabia, Ibraaz, Jdeed Magazine, Suitcase and Vice Arabia among other publications. Her exhibitions in London and Armenia have been featured in Vogue Arabia, The Art Newspaper, The Art Gorgeous and numerous other news outlets. Gallery Girl has also spoken in the UK, UAE and Belgium about the contemporary art scene in the MENA region, and is planning further events in London and Amman.

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