Carthay Circle Theatre during a dramatically lit Hollywood premiere. It was one of the most famous movie palaces of Hollywood’s golden age © CSU ArchivesEverett CollectionREXShutterstock

Your chance to live with a Hollywood icon

From Alfred Hitchcock (and Leo the Lion) to Grace Kelly, Rita Hayworth and Audrey Hepburn, a dazzling array of icons from Hollywood’s Golden Age features in our 6-15 December online sale, Photographs: The Classics

  • 1
  • Grace Kelly

Clarence Sinclair Bull (1896–1979), Grace Kelly, 1956. Blindstamped photographers credit (recto); stamped photographers credit and variously annotated in pencil (verso), image 13⅛ x 10¼ in (33.5 x 26.2 cm), sheet 14 x 11 in (35.4 x 28 cm). Estimate $1,500-2,500. This lot is offered in Photographs The Classics, 6-15 December 2016, Online. © The John Kobal Foundation

Clarence Sinclair Bull (1896–1979), Grace Kelly, 1956. Blindstamped photographer's credit (recto); stamped photographer's credit and variously annotated in pencil (verso), image: 13⅛ x 10¼ in (33.5 x 26.2 cm), sheet: 14 x 11 in (35.4 x 28 cm). Estimate: $1,500-2,500. This lot is offered in Photographs: The Classics, 6-15 December 2016, Online. © The John Kobal Foundation

When photographer Clarence Sinclair Bull took this photograph in 1956, Grace Kelly’s status as one of Hollywood’s most talented — and glamorous — actresses was firmly secured. In 1954, she had won a Golden Globe for her performance in the 1953 film Mogambo, which also saw her nominated for an Academy Award. Hit films followed, from Dial M for Murder (1954) to High Society (1956) with Frank Sinatra and Bing Crosby. 

The man behind this striking image, Clarence Sinclair Bull, became renowned as one of the great masters of the Hollywood portrait, transforming the publicity shot into an art form. Bull spent 30 years as head of the stills department at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, then Hollywood’s most successful film company. Under the management of Louis B. Mayer, MGM boasted that it had ‘more stars than there are in Heaven’. 

  • 2
  • Rita Hayworth 

Robert Coburn (1900–1990), Rita Hayworth as Gilda, 1946. Signed in ink (recto); variously annotated in pencil (verso), image 12½ x 9⅛ in (31.6 x 23 cm), sheet 14 x 10⅞ in (35.4 x 27.7 cm). Estimate $1,500-2,500. This lot is offered in Photographs The Classics, 6-15 December 2016, Online. © The John Kobal Foundation

Robert Coburn (1900–1990), Rita Hayworth as Gilda, 1946. Signed in ink (recto); variously annotated in pencil (verso), image: 12½ x 9⅛ in (31.6 x 23 cm), sheet: 14 x 10⅞ in (35.4 x 27.7 cm). Estimate: $1,500-2,500. This lot is offered in Photographs: The Classics, 6-15 December 2016, Online. © The John Kobal Foundation

Nicknamed ‘The Love Goddess’ by the press, Rita Hayworth was one of the most glamorous screen idols of the 1940s — and reportedly the most popular pin-up of GIs during World War II. She starred in hit films including Blood and Sand (1941), Tales of Manhattan (1942) and You’ll Never Get Rich (1941), appearing opposite stars including Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers.

It was Hayworth’s performance in the 1946 film noir Gilda, however, that became her most famous. Centred on a dramatic love triangle and set in a casino, the film cast Hayworth as a classic femme fatale — perfectly captured in the image above by celebrated Hollywood photographer Robert Coburn. Responsible for some of her most iconic portraits, Coburn became Hayworth’s favourite lensman. 

  • 3
  • Audrey Hepburn 

Bud Fraker (1916–2002), Audrey Hepburn for Funny Face, 1956. Blindstamped John F Kobal Collection (margin); titled in ink, stamped reproduction limitation with annotations in pencil (verso), image 12⅞ x 9¾ in (32.7 x 24.5 cm), sheet 14 x 9⅞ in (35.6 x 25 cm). Estimate $1,000-1,500. This lot is offered in Photographs The Classics, 6-15 December 2016, Online. © The John Kobal

Bud Fraker (1916–2002), Audrey Hepburn for Funny Face, 1956. Blindstamped 'John F Kobal Collection' (margin); titled in ink, stamped reproduction limitation with annotations in pencil (verso), image: 12⅞ x 9¾ in (32.7 x 24.5 cm), sheet: 14 x 9⅞ in (35.6 x 25 cm). Estimate: $1,000-1,500. This lot is offered in Photographs: The Classics, 6-15 December 2016, Online. © The John Kobal Foundation

An icon of fashion as much as cinema, Audrey Hepburn first shot to stardom in her role as an absconding princess alongside reporter Gregory Peck in 1953’s Roman Holiday, becoming the first actress to win an Academy Award, a Golden Globe and a BAFTA Award for a single performance. She went on to star in classics including Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961) and My Fair Lady (1964).

The photograph above was taken by Bud Fraker for the 1957 musical Funny Face, which saw Hepburn star as a shy bookshop clerk and amateur philosopher thrust into the world of high-fashion modelling. The director of still photography at Columbia Studios, Fraker photographed Hepburn on numerous occasions, and was responsible for her most famous portrait — dressed in black and holding a long cigarette holder for Breakfast at Tiffany’s

  • 4
  • Gary Cooper 

Clarence Sinclair Bull (1896–1979), Gary Cooper, 1933. Titled and credited in pencil (verso), image 13⅝ x 10¾ in (34.2 x 27.2 cm), sheet 14 x 11 in (35.6 x 28 cm). Estimate $800-1,200. This lot is offered in Photographs The Classics, 6-15 December 2016, Online. © The John Kobal Foundation

Clarence Sinclair Bull (1896–1979), Gary Cooper, 1933. Titled and credited in pencil (verso), image: 13⅝ x 10¾ in (34.2 x 27.2 cm), sheet: 14 x 11 in (35.6 x 28 cm). Estimate: $800-1,200. This lot is offered in Photographs: The Classics, 6-15 December 2016, Online. © The John Kobal Foundation

From 1925 to 1960 Gary Cooper filled the lead role in an astounding 84 feature films, spanning the silent film era to the golden age of Hollywood. Known for his understated demeanour, he began his career as a stunt actor before becoming a Western hero — later featuring in dramas including A Farewell to Arms (1932), released the year before this portrait was taken.

Over the course of his long career Cooper won three Oscars. His charisma was such that he is credited with the rise in popularity of the name Gary, which barely existed as a first name before he assumed it in honour of his manager’s hometown, Gary in Indiana. 

  • 5
  • Alfred Hitchcock with MGM Lion 

Clarence Sinclair Bull (1896–1979), Alfred Hitchcock with MGM Lion, 1958. Blindstamped photographers credit (image); stamped photographers credit and John Kobal Foundation with various annotations in pencil (verso), image 10⅜ x 13⅜ in (26.3 x 34 cm), sheet 11 x 14 in (28 x 35.4 cm). Estimate $1,500-2,500. This lot is offered in Photographs The Classics, 6-15 December 2016, Online. © The

Clarence Sinclair Bull (1896–1979), Alfred Hitchcock with MGM Lion, 1958. Blindstamped photographer's credit (image); stamped photographer's credit and 'John Kobal Foundation' with various annotations in pencil (verso), image: 10⅜ x 13⅜ in (26.3 x 34 cm), sheet: 11 x 14 in (28 x 35.4 cm). Estimate: $1,500-2,500. This lot is offered in Photographs: The Classics, 6-15 December 2016, Online. © The John Kobal Foundation

Often referred to as ‘The Master of Suspense’, Alfred Hitchcock is revered as one of the 20th century’s pioneering directors, renowned for his plot twists and psychologically complex characters. Considered one of the greatest filmmakers of all time, he is responsible for classics including The Lady Vanishes (1938), Psycho (1960) and The Birds (1963).

In 1939 Hitchcock left his native Britain and moved to Hollywood, taking up official US citizenship in 1955. When Clarence Sinclair Bull took this photograph, in the late 1950s, Hitchcock was widely considered to be at his peak. Here, he fearlessly directs the MGM mascot Leo the Lion, immortalised in the studio’s production logo.  

  • 6
  • Dolores del Rio 

Ernest Bachrach (1899–1973), Dolores del Rio 1933. Stamped photographers copyright credit (verso), image 12 x 10 in (30.5 x 25.4 cm), sheet 13¾ x 11 in (35.3 x 28 cm). Estimate $800-1,200. This lot is offered in Photographs The Classics, 6-15 December 2016, Online. © The John Kobal Foundation

Ernest Bachrach (1899–1973), Dolores del Rio 1933. Stamped photographer's copyright credit (verso), image: 12 x 10 in (30.5 x 25.4 cm), sheet: 13¾ x 11 in (35.3 x 28 cm). Estimate: $800-1,200. This lot is offered in Photographs: The Classics, 6-15 December 2016, Online. © The John Kobal Foundation

When she was just 20 Dolores del Rio was ‘discovered’ in Mexico by director Edwin Carewe, who persuaded her to move to Hollywood and begin a film career. She worked from 1925, starring in silent films including Bird of Paradise (1932) and Madame Du Barry (1934). As Mexican cinema entered into its own golden age, she returned home — becoming the first Latin American actress to forge a successful career in both her native country and in the US.

Along with Clarence Sinclair Bull, Ernest Bachrach was one of Hollywood’s most coveted portrait photographers, working with stars including Fred Astaire and Katharine Hepburn. For actress Gloria Swanson, who had been shot by countless others, ‘there was no other photographer in the world’.  

  • 7
  • Norma Shearer 

George Hurrell (1904–1992), Norma Shearer, 1932. Signed in ink and numbered 330 in pencil (margin), image 10 x 11 in (25.4 x 28 cm), sheet 19¾ x 16 in (50.5 x 40.6 cm). Estimate $1,500-2,500. This lot is offered in Photographs The Classics, 6-15 December 2016, Online. © The John Kobal Foundation

George Hurrell (1904–1992), Norma Shearer, 1932. Signed in ink and numbered '3/30' in pencil (margin), image: 10 x 11 in (25.4 x 28 cm), sheet: 19¾ x 16 in (50.5 x 40.6 cm). Estimate: $1,500-2,500. This lot is offered in Photographs: The Classics, 6-15 December 2016, Online. © The John Kobal Foundation

Canadian-American actress Norma Shearer became renowned for her performances as rich, worldly and sexually liberated women, roles that were considered groundbreaking when they first aired. In 1932, when this photograph was taken, Shearer was at the height of her career, starring in box-office hits that placed her in direct competition with screen legends such as Joan Crawford and Greta Garbo. 

This portrait by George Hurrell was taken two years after Shearer won an Academy Award for her role in the 1930 film The Divorcee. Encouraged by photographer Edward Steichen, Hurrell had begun to produce striking black-and-white images in the 1920s, including portraits of every star contracted to MGM. 

  • 8
  • Gloria Swanson 

Clarence Sinclair Bull (1896–1979), Gloria Swanson, 1934. Blindstamped photographers credit (image); stamped photographers credit and various annotations in pencil (verso), imagesheet 16 x 19¾ in (40.6 x 50.5 cm). Estimate $2,000-3,000. This lot is offered in Photographs The Classics, 6-15 December 2016, Online. © The John Kobal Foundation

Clarence Sinclair Bull (1896–1979), Gloria Swanson, 1934. Blindstamped photographer's credit (image); stamped photographer's credit and various annotations in pencil (verso), image/sheet: 16 x 19¾ in (40.6 x 50.5 cm). Estimate: $2,000-3,000. This lot is offered in Photographs: The Classics, 6-15 December 2016, Online. © The John Kobal Foundation

Gloria Swanson rocketed to fame shortly after making her film debut at the beginning of the 1920s, and went on to become one of the decade’s most sought-after romantic leads. In 1929 she was nominated for Best Actress in the very first Academy Awards — an accolade which she finally received in 1950 for her role in the acclaimed Sunset Boulevard.

At the height of her career Swanson was one of the most photographed women in the world, as renowned for her fantastic wardrobe as for her acting talent. Although she was barely 5ft tall she regularly wore the latest haute couture, accessorising extravagantly with jewels, beads, and ostrich and peacock feathers.

  • 9
  • Mary Pickford 

Baron Adolph de Meyer (1868–1946), Mary Pickford, 1920. Signed and inscribed Faithfully Mary Pickford 1925 in ink (margin), imagesheet 9¼ x 7⅜ in (23.5 x 18.7 cm), mount 12⅝ x 9½ in (32 x 24 cm). Estimate $1,000-1,500. This lot is offered in Photographs The Classics, 6-15 December 2016, Online. © The John Kobal Foundation

Baron Adolph de Meyer (1868–1946), Mary Pickford, 1920. Signed and inscribed 'Faithfully Mary Pickford 1925' in ink (margin), image/sheet: 9¼ x 7⅜ in (23.5 x 18.7 cm), mount: 12⅝ x 9½ in (32 x 24 cm). Estimate: $1,000-1,500. This lot is offered in Photographs: The Classics, 6-15 December 2016, Online. © The John Kobal Foundation

In the 1910s and 1920s Mary Pickford was known as the Queen of Movies, starring under her stage name at a time when most actors appeared without billing. Her output was exceptional: in 1909 she appeared in a total of 51 films at a rate of almost one a week.

Pickford’s influence on film was enormous — and not only as an actress. In 1919, together with Charlie Chaplin, D.W. Griffith and Douglas Fairbanks, she founded United Artists, and was one of the original 36 founders of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. The portrait above was taken by the self-proclaimed ‘Baron’ de Meyer, Vogue’s first staff photographer.