Photographing Vivien Leigh's silk square

Research Assistant Becky Rae pondering the problem of how best to photograph a material artefact.

The fabric draped over the green chair in the background is a square of silk that belonged to Vivien Leigh. It is an example of a practice she followed throughout her life, learned during her school days, of covering her used garments with a clean square of fabric at the end of the day.

Because of its size, lack of shape and slippery texture, the square was a fascinatingly intimate artefact to hold but very difficult to display in a visually engaging way. The team decided the square was best displayed against a strong background. The beautiful period furniature from the room around us offered an ideal mount. We used the chair to offer this contrast, but also to offer some shape to the visuals.
Subject Vivien Leigh
Source Topsham Museum
Date 2019-06-25
Format Photograph
Type Research process
Coverage 1910s-1960s