Audrey Hepburn: Portraits of an Icon

Audrey Hepburn photographed wearing Givenchy by Norman Parkinson, 1955 
© Norman Parkinson Ltd/Courtesy Norman Parkinson Archive

A new photography exhibition celebrating the life and career of British film star Audrey Hepburn will open at the National Portrait Gallery in London in July 2015.

Audrey Hepburn: Portraits of an Icon will follow Hepburn's rise to fame, from her early years in Holland and as a dancer and chorus girl in London's West End, to her becoming a stage and screen icon, culminating in her philanthropic work in later life. The exhibition will showcase rarely seen photographs from the collection of the Hepburn family along with iconic portraits of Hepburn by leading photographers of the twentieth century including Richard Avedon, Cecil Beaton, Angus McBean, Irving Penn and Norman Parkinson.

(left) Audrey Hepburn as Holly Golightly in Breakfast at Tiffanys by Howell Conant, published on the cover of Jours de France, 26 January 1962

Highlights from the exhibition will include family photographs of Hepburn practising ballet as a young woman, and examples of her early work in London as a fashion model for photographs by Antony Beauchamp, in addition to the highly successful Crookes Lacto-Calamine skin cream campaign, photographed by Angus McBean in 1950.

A rarely seen series of photographs by Mark Shaw, taken during the making of Sabrina in 1953 and published as a photo essay in Life magazine, will offer a unique insight into Hepburn's life on and off-set, as Shaw was granted unprecedented behind-the-scenes access for the photo essay.

Also included in the exhibition will be vintage magazine spreads, from the Picturegoer in 1952 to the front cover of Life magazine, featuring Hepburn in Givenchy for her role in Breakfast at Tiffany's in 1961, taken by Howell Conant. Original film posters and other ephemera will complete the story of one of the world's most photographed women.

Audrey Hepburn by Cecil Beaton, bromide print, 1963
© Cecil Beaton Studio Archive, Sotheby's London

-Audrey Hepburn: Portraits of an Icon runs from 2 July until 18 October 2015-
Admission charges:
Including voluntary donation: Adult £10 / Concessions £8.50
Standard price: Adult: £9 / Concessions £7.50