Category: the oliviers

Vivien Leigh’s Friends: A Call for Help

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Vivien Leigh’s Friends: A Call for Help

*Shouts into the Internet void* HELP!

In my last post I wrote about my efforts to preserve Vivien Leigh’s snapshot albums for posterity. Now I’ve reached the stage where I’m attempting to identify the unrecognisable (to me) people in the images. This is part of the cataloguing process. The goal is to record as much information as possible about the content of the images whilst digitising them. Unfortunately, very few of the images have identifying information written on the back and the handful of people I have shown the albums to have also been unable to supply any names.

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Searching for the Oliviers in Australia

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Searching for the Oliviers in Australia

Any hard-core history geek knows the thrill of visiting places where one’s favorite historical figures lived, worked, or otherwise stayed. Perhaps even more thrilling is getting a first-hand look at objects and manuscript materials related to said historical figures. This is certainly the case for many Vivien Leigh fans. Long-time friend of vivandlarry.com, Shiroma Nathan, is a Vivien Leigh fan in Australia who recently took the opportunity to go where very few fans have gone before: The National Library of Australia in Canberra. Read about her trip and experience viewing a very special photograph album in this guest blog post.

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Winston Churchill’s ‘Marvellous’ Gift to Vivien Leigh

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Winston Churchill’s ‘Marvellous’ Gift to Vivien Leigh

Sotheby’s recently announced a major sale of objects from the Vivien Leigh estate. On September 26, paintings, jewellery, photographs, clothing, furniture, and other valuables belonging to the late Oscar-winning actress will go under the hammer here in London. Among the treasures that Vivien’s family have kept all these years is an oil painting by Vivien’s friend, the former Prime Minister Winston Churchill.… Continue reading

Inside the Oliviers’ Love Nest

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Inside the Oliviers’ Love Nest

Today’s post comes to us courtesy of Lena Backström, a long-time fan of the Oliviers from Sweden. Over the years I’ve gotten to know Lena fairly well. When this site first launched she kindly contributed scans from her private collection to the Photo Gallery – many of which I had never seen before. It was a real treat. Since then, we’ve met in person a couple of times, catching up over lunch and swapping stories whenever she’s in London for a visit.

Recently, Lena did some extended research into Durham Cottage, the Oliviers’ love nest in Christchurch Street, Chelsea, west London. Laurence Olivier bought the house (the former coach cottage belonging to the larger Durham House next door) as a London base for he and Vivien Leigh. Using quotes from biographies and excerpts and rare photos from vintage Swedish magazines, Lena was able to plot out what the house looked like when the Oliviers lived there from 1937-1956.

Below is Durham Cottage as we’ve never seen it, but there are some lingering questions: where, exactly, was Laurence Olivier’s study? When did they decide to have separate bedrooms (or were there always two)? Can you help us with the answers?

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Thanks for the job well done, Lena!

If you’ve got a unique idea for a guest post and would like to contribute to the content at vivandlarry.com, please get in touch.