Athol SHMITH, Vivien Leigh Enlarge 1 /1


Melbourne, Victoria, Australia 1914 – 1990

Vivien Leigh 1948 Place made: Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Materials & Technique: photographs, gelatin silver photograph, colour dyes gelatin silver photograph

Primary Insc: not signed, dated verso, u.l., "1948"
Dimensions: printed image 39.3 h x 31.7 w cm
Acknowledgement: Purchased 1986
Accession No: NGA 86.1701

‘A very beautiful lady, I had no idea of the troubles she was going through when I took this portrait of her, dressed for her part in the Old Vic’s production of Richard III. I photographed her during the performance in her dressing room at the Princess Theatre. It was a tiny room which did not even have the usual star on the door. I managed to blow a fuse and the electrical director was furious; he came charging into the room, yelling at us — she was very apologetic and rather unnerved by him. For this photograph I used what is known as an ‘inky dinky light’ with a piece of tracing paper in front to diffuse it.’ (Shmith)

Text © National Gallery of Australia, Canberra