photography vivien leigh

Tickerage Mill: A private view

Tickerage Mill farm

A view of Tickerage Mill from the farm owned by Vivien Leigh

Last week I posted some rare candid images of Vivien Leigh taken by Jack Merivale that showed the woman behind the star image; photographs her fans would likely never have seen had Merivale not graciously lent them to one of her biographers. Several of them showed Vivien at her recently-purchased home Tickerage Mill. The photos in today’s post highlight the same setting. These, however, were intended for public consumption.

British actor Dirk Bogarde told journalist and biographer Alan Dent how Vivien came to own Tickerage in early 1961:

When Vivien had left Notley she once came down to my house, and felt utterly sad because she no longer had a garden…she adored mine, which was rather marvelous. Suddenly she said: “I want a little house…with a view like this, but by water…on a lake or a stream…and with trees…” and I had seen the exact house three days before. I told her, and she was off in a flash and found it to be the very place of her idea…that’s how she got Tickerage Mill. I had wanted it very much for myself, but it was a bit too far from town, I thought, and too small for me. Viv was instantly at home there.

In the summer of 1962, Vivien invited professional Surrey-based photographer Thomas A. Wilkie to photograph her at Tickerage. She had been away for a year and was only now settling in and making the Queen Anne-style house in Sussex a true home.

The photos are part of a larger set that was intended for a magazine but, to my knowledge and the current owner’s, were never published. I first came across the original prints in a famous theatre ephemera store in London back in 2005. I was a college student at the time and couldn’t afford the asking price. “Vivien isn’t cheap, you know,” the shop owner said to me. I went away believing I’d never see them again, so it was a great surprise when Terence Pepper from the National Portrait Gallery asked me to come in and meet a local collector called John who had some Vivien photos to donate for an upcoming exhibit, and there they were. John inherited the photographs from a friend who recently passed away, and I am so grateful to him for letting me share some of them  here at

The photos offer an intimate glimpse into Vivien’s home and, like Jack Merivale’s snapshots, show a woman making the best of life after her divorce from Olivier. So many of Vivien’s endearing qualities come through in these pictures: her love for animals, her exquisite taste in interior design, her love of work, and her loyalty. I especially love the photo of her and her dog, Sebastian. It’s not perfect, and she probably wouldn’t have approved it for publication, but the expression on her face is adorable.

Inside Vivien Leigh's Tickerage Mill

I just love this centuries old fireplace. It reminds me of a cozy English pub.

Tickerage Mill sitting room

Tickerage Mill sitting room

The sitting room

Vivien Leigh at Tickerage Mill 1962

 Talking about her upcoming musical, Tovarich

Vivien Leigh and her dog Sebastian

Playing with her poodle, Sebastian – a gift from Jack Merivale

Vivien Leigh and her gardner at Tickerage Mill

“Gardening – my great love.” Talking to Cook, who was head gardener at Notley Abbey for eight years and left there in order to remain in Vivien’s service.

Vivien leigh at Tickerage Mill 1962

I simply love this photo

Kendra has been the weblady at since 2007. She lives in Yorkshire and is the author of Vivien Leigh: An Intimate Portrait, and co-author of Ava Gardner: A Life in Movies (Running Press). Follow her on Twitter @kendrajbean, Instagram at @vivandlarrygram, or at her official website.

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Comments (9)

  1. Thanks a lot for sharing those, Kendra ! What a treat… Wonderful shots… No doubt Vivien found a well-deserved peace in that place… Even just for glimpses maybe.

  2. Hi Kendra … I’ve enjoyed all your recent posts so much, but this one is my favorite! These pics are wonderful, but the last one made me gasp when I saw it. Thanks so much for sharing them.

    I’m counting the months until the release of your book. The cover design is beautiful, and I have always particularly loved the photo you selected for it. Cannot wait until my copy is displayed proudly on my coffee table!


    1. Hi David,

      The last one is my favorite, as well. She looks so serene!

      The months are ticking by and before we know it the book will be here! I’m excited for it too, and hope it’s well received. Things are starting to line up for it, publicity-wise 🙂

  3. I actually got a little choked up viewing these photos. Tickerage Mill was such a beautiful place, it certainly had a peaceful and relaxing effect on Vivien. Thank you Kendra.

  4. Kendra! thank you so much for putting these on your site! I love, love, love the pictures, and as always, love this website! I still can’t believe that there are so many other people who love Vivien Leigh as much as I do. I can’t wait for your book! Thanks again! 🙂

  5. Fantastic photos, thanks Kendra. I really love seeing her in her private setting. Like with Cook, the gardener. These are private moments captured. I suppose this is the same serie than the famous one in the roses, or the one at her desk with the bronze modeling of her hand ?

  6. I found this site after reading a headline article on the Daily Mail today about Tickerage Mill. It’s on the market now and I’m madly in love with this house! Even more so now that I’ve seen how Vivian Leigh had decorated it before. You’re right, she had exquisite taste. Lovely to see her old photos. She had something about her, an inner fire, real character. Thanks very much for sharing!

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