Vivien Leigh rose to prominence when she portrayed Scarlett O’Hara in the 1939 film “Gone with the Wind.” Famously, her Southern belle character received one of the most stinging rebukes in film history, when Rhett Butler, played by Clark Gable, told her, “Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn.”
In real life, the beautiful British actress was a serious woman of great taste, a collector who cared deeply about art, literature, interior design and high fashion. On September 26, Sotheby’s London will auction Vivien Leigh’s jewelry with 200+ other lots from her personal estate, and it seems the auction world does indeed give a damn.
The Vivien Leigh Collection
According to Sotheby’s, The Vivien Leigh Collection includes paintings, furniture, clothing, jewelry, porcelain and objets d’art collected by Leigh throughout her years in London and Hollywood, right up until her death in 1967. A forthcoming catalogue will document these pieces, many of which were gifts from Leigh’s husband, actor Laurence Olivier. The catalog is expected to chronicle Leigh’s appreciation of the arts, and especially of British artists, authors and designers.
About the Jewelry
The most important jewel in The Vivien Leigh Collection is a mid-19th century diamond brooch, which can also be worn as a pendant. Featuring a large diamond bow, said to be one of Leigh’s signature wardrobe motifs, the piece is estimated to sell for between $32,100 and $45,000 at the September auction. OBJ predicts the final sale price will far exceed this estimate.
A particularly sentimental jewelry lot in the Sotheby’s auction is a gold posey ring, inscribed “Laurence Olivier Vivien Eternally.” Leigh was married to the great British stage and screen actor from 1940 to 1960, and they starred together several times during this period.
The ring is estimated to fetch between $520 and $780, but we’re betting that collectors will be willing to pay much more. We’ll keep you posted.
For Film and Stage Buffs
In addition to Leigh’s jewelry, the auction will include a sterling silver cigarette box engraved with a message from Myron Selznick, who helped Leigh win the role of Scarlett O’Hara; Leigh’s personal copy of “Gone with the Wind,” inscribed by its author, Margaret Mitchell; a script of the film presented to Leigh by its 1939 cast members; and a wig from her role as Blanche DuBois in the 1951 film, “A Streetcar Named Desire.”