Portraits reveal a playful side to Marilyn Monroe

A relaxed Marilyn Monroe poses for a series of intimate pictures in a collection of previously unseen shots, which have been released almost 50 years after her death.

The images of Monroe, who died in 1961 aged 36, show a more laidback side to the star as she poses in the grass and takes time out while reading a script. In another candid shot she playfully covers half her face with a makeup mirror on the set of a photoshoot.

The pictures are part of a collection, called "Marilyn", by the American photojournalist Eve Arnold, who captured Monroe at the peak of her fame in the late 1950s and early 60s. Arnold, now 98, said of the collection: "She liked my pictures and was canny enough to realise that they were a fresh approach for presenting her – a looser, more intimate look than the posed studio portraits she was used to in Hollywood."

The eight limited edition prints of Monroe were taken in 1960 in apparently unguarded moments during filming of her last completed film, The Misfits.

Only 495 of the prints have been produced, with prices starting at £350. They went on display on Saturday at galleries nationwide, including Birmingham, Wolverhampton, Nottingham and Newcastle.