Marilyn Monroe: A British Love Affair

Marilyn Monroe: A British Love Affair

Marilyn Monroe's connection with Britain has been the subject of a new in focus display at the National Portrait Gallery in London which started last September and runs through until the 24th March 2013.

Coinciding with the 50th anniversary of Monroe's death, the display has managed to celebrate her life by showcasing her links with the UK. Portraits of Monroe by British photographers are 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. She was to appear in The Prince and the Showgirl based on a play by Terence Rattigan, starring opposite Laurence Olivier who was also directing the film. Her four-month stay in Britain generated huge press interest and the display will include little known images by photojournalist Larry Burrows who worked for Life magazine, and press images of Monroe meeting the Queen amongst others.

Cinematographer on the film, Jack Cardiff, had a private sitting with Monroe for which she arrived nine hours late. 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.'

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Throughout the 1950s British photographers contributed greatly to the vast Monroe iconography. The display includes 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).

A selection of British magazine covers on show plot Monroe's changing image and progressing movie career. The earliest cover on display feature's André de Dienes' 1947 portrait of the then Norma Jeane Baker on cover of Picture Post. Also on display is a cover of Today magazine from 1961 in which she is pictured alongside Arthur Miller, her husband from 1956 to1961, who scripted her last completed film, The Misfits.

A poignant conclusion to the display is the cover of Town magazine published three months after Monroe's death fifty years ago, featuring an image from her last official shoot with George Barris.

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 If you have seen or manage to catch the show before it comes to a close, or just love Marilyn we would love to hear your thoughts below on a closing note dont forget to visit our shop for more pin up greating cards and gifts, some exclusive to CCK

A big thankyou to National Portrait Gallery for organising the following images:

1st Image: Cecil Beaton photographing Marilyn Monroe by Ed Pfizenmaier, Ambassador Hotel, New York, 22 February 1956 - Copyright: Ed Pfizenmaier

2nd Image: Marilyn Monroe, artwork for The Prince and The Showgirl poster - Copyright: The John Kobal Foundation

3rd Image: Roy Ward Baker and Marilyn Monroe on the set of Dont Bother to Knock, 1952 - Copyright: Private collection of Nicholas Baker