Audrey Hepburn exhibition staged on site of night club where she got her big break

Audrey Hepburn: Portraits of an Icon will open at the National Portrait Gallery, part of which used to be Ciro's night club, next year

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Audrey Hepburn’s feline beauty ushered in a new era of unconventional Hollywood glamour. Now, the face that launched a thousand film posters is going on display at the National Portrait Gallery (NPG) on the site at which she was first talent spotted.

An exhibition charting her life and career will open at the London museum next summer coinciding with the 65th anniversary of the actress’s performance as a dancer and chorus girl in Petite Sauce Tartare at night club Ciro’s, which is now part of the NPG.

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Audrey Hepburn photographed wearing Givenchy by Norman Parkinson, 1955

The display will follow Hepburn’s childhood in Holland, her early years as a dancer and chorus girl in the West End, her Hollywood career and her later philanthropic work.

Highlights include snaps 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.

Images from the Hepburn family’s own archive will present the unseen face of one of the most photographed women of the 20th century alongside iconic portraits by leading photographers including Richard Avedon, Cecil Beaton, Angus McBean, Irving Penn and Norman Parkinson.

Also included in the exhibition will be original film posters and 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.

“It is particularly appropriate that the exhibition will be staged in such close proximity to where she performed as a young woman at the very start of her career,” said the NPG’s deputy director Pim Baxter.

Audrey Hepburn: Portraits of an Icon runs from 2 July until 18 October 2015.