South Kensington, London - Christie’s is proud to announce full details of Famous and Infamous: Highlights from the Collection of David Gainsborough Roberts a free exhibition open to the public until 2 September 2014. The objects selected for Famous and Infamous represent the diversity of an extraordinary collection of memorabilia which spans over 150 years of the most beloved and notorious cultural icons from the worlds of film, music, royalty, crime, exploration and the wild west. Each piece tells the fascinating story of a legendary individual or event which have become an enduring part of our contemporary culture. As one of the most celebrated and recognisable icons of all time, Marilyn Monroe’s red sequin gown worn in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes leads the collection. Other highlights include Lawrence of Arabia’s white silk headdress and agal, John Wayne’s Stetson and a piece of Queen Victoria’s wedding cake.
David Gainsborough Roberts commented, “In 1989 I bought a Marilyn Monroe film costume from Christie’s and my life changed completely. Although I have always been a collector of antiques since before I could read or write, that day in 1989 brought out the serious collector in me. Although I have put on dozens of exhibitions worldwide, this is my first one with Christie’s. I hope all you fellow collectors enjoy this small selection of highlights from my collection.”
Marilyn Monroe was and is one of the world's most celebrated icons of all time. Born Norma Jeane Baker, she went on to star in a number of famous films including Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953) and Some Like It Hot (1959) becoming one of the most successful and sought-after leading ladies, dazzling Hollywood and sparking International headlines. One of the most recognizable faces in the world, her trademark platinum blonde hair, slick of red lipstick and beauty mark, her famous skirt-blowing scene from The Seven-Year Itch, are all a part of our culture – over 50 years after her death, Marilyn still fascinates the world she left behind. This red sequinned evening gown made for Monroe as Lorelei Lee in the 1953 20th Century Fox film Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, it was designed by William Travilla and was worn by Monroe and Jane Russell for the opening number “Two Little Girls from Little Rock.”
T. E. Lawrence (1888-1935), was a British Army officer renowned for his liaison role during the Sinai and Palestine Campaign, and the Arab Revolt against Ottoman Turkish rule of 1916–18. Known as Lawrence of Arabia, the breadth and variety of his activities and associations, and his ability to describe them vividly in writing earned him international fame and led to the making of the 1962 film based on his World War I activities. The collection includes Lawrence of Arabia’s ivory silk headdress and agal, circa 1920 which was one of two given by Lawrence to his close friend Arthur Russell’s mother to “cut up and make into dresses for herself.” Fortunately, this robe escaped the scissors.
Further highlights of the collection include a piece of Queen Victoria’s wedding cake in presentation box bearing a crown and the printed inscription The Queen's Bridal Cake, Buckingham Palace, Feby 10, 1840. Inheriting the throne at age eighteen, Queen Victoria reigned over the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland for 63 years and seven months, which is longer than any other British monarch and the longest reign of any female monarch in history. Victoria married her first cousin, Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, in 1840.
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