Rare Audrey Hepburn photos revealed: gallery

Rare Audrey Hepburn photographs, lent to the National Portrait Gallery by her sons, to go on display this summer alongside classic portraits

Audrey Hepburn on location in Africa for The Nun’s Story by Leo Fuchs, 1958. Image credit: Leo Fuchs.

Over 30 important photographs of Audrey Hepburn from the personal collection of her sons will go on display from 2 July until 18 October 2015, in the National Portrait Gallery’s summer exhibition Audrey Hepburn: Portraits of an Icon, it has been announced.

The selection of photographs lent to the exhibition by Audrey’s sons, Sean Hepburn Ferrer and Luca Dotti, will explore the life and career of the celebrated film star, fashion icon and humanitarian. Some of the portraits have never been seen before in the UK, including a picture of Hepburn performing a dance recital in 1942, aged thirteen, and a rarely seen photograph of her taken on location in Africa during the filming of The Nun’s Story by Leo Fuchs in 1958.

Born in Belgium to a Dutch Baroness and an Anglo-Irish father, Hepburn moved to London from Amsterdam in late 1948 to take up a ballet scholarship at the Rambert Ballet School in Notting Hill. After a number of important stage performances as a chorus girl in the West End, her critically-acclaimed performance in popular Broadway play Gigi (1951) introduced Hepburn to American theatre audiences and secured her success.

Hepburn became the first actress to win an Academy Award, Golden Globe, and BAFTA Award for a single performance (her leading role in Roman Holiday, 1953). Hepburn worked as a Unicef ambassador from 1988 until her death in 1993. She was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1992 in recognition of her contribution to the arts and her humanitarian work. The exhibition will chart Hepburn’s rise to fame, from her early years in the Netherlands and as a dancer and chorus girl in London’s West End, to her becoming a stage and screen super star, and culminating in her philanthropic work in later life.

Alongside rare photographs from the Audrey Hepburn Estate, visitors will be able to see beautiful portraits and magazine covers featuring Hepburn by leading photographers of the twentieth century, including Cecil Beaton, Irving Penn, Terry O’Neill and Norman Parkinson.

Luca Dotti says: ‘We are thrilled to be able to support this comprehensive and beautifully curated exhibition dedicated to our mother as it allows me and my brother Sean to grasp fragments of an otherwise unreachable past. The experience is all the more rewarding as the exhibition strives to go behind the scenes and give us rare insights into the making of Audrey Hepburn, from her London debut and her rise to stardom in the 50s and 60s, to the last season of her life.

‘She would be honoured to have an exhibition dedicated to her at the National Portrait Gallery. And glad to be back home.’

Unpublished photograph of Audrey Hepburn in Richmond Park by Bert Hardy, 30 April 1950. Image credit: Bert Hardy/Getty Images.
Audrey Hepburn in Rome by Cecil Beaton, 1960. Image credit: The Cecil Beaton Studio Archive at Sotheby’s.
Audrey Hepburn by Bud Fraker, for ‘Sabrina’, Paramount Pictures, 1954
Audrey Hepburn by Antony Beauchamp, 1955. Image credit: Reserved.

For more information, visit the National Portrait Gallery website.

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