‘A British Love Affair’, an exhibition exploring Marilyn Monroe’s connection with Britain, will be at the National Portrait Gallery from 29 September. The display is free to visit and coincides with the 50th anniversary of Monroe’s death.
Portraits of Monroe by British photographers will be shown alongside rare magazine covers, vintage prints, lobby cards and film stills to put the works in context.
Monroe arrived in Britain with her new husband, playwright Arthur Miller, on 14 July 1956. They arrived for the shooting of The Prince and the Showgirl with Laurence Olivier co-starring and directing. For 4 months she generated a buzz among the press as only she could, and the NPG will be displaying some rare Life magazine photos by photojournalist Larry Burrows, and press images of Monroe meeting the Queen amongst others.
The cinematographer on the film, Jack Cardiff, had a private sitting with Monroe for which she arrived nine hours late. His patience was rewarded however: Monroe inscribed on one of the dreamy images created with a wind machine and Vaseline over the lens, ‘Dearest Jack, if only I could be the way you created me.’
British photographers who worked with Monroe during the 50s contributed greatly to the Monroe iconography. The display will include a selection of these photographs including Antony Beauchamp’s poses of Monroe in a yellow bikini (1951), Baron’s photographs from a Hollywood assignment (1954) and Cecil Beaton’s photographs taken in the Ambassador Hotel in New York (February 1956).
Marilyn Monroe: A British Love Affair will open on 29 September and run until 24 March 2013.
Graham Spicer is a writer, director and photographer in Milan, blogging (under the name ‘Gramilano’) about dance, opera, music and photography for people “who are a bit like me and like some of the things I like”. He was a regular columnist for Opera Now magazine and wrote for the BBC until transferring to Italy.
His scribblings have appeared in various publications from Woman’s Weekly to Gay Times, and he wrote the ‘Danza in Italia’ column for Dancing Times magazine.