Family photographs of Audrey Hepburn have been lent the National Portrait Gallery

Hepburn's sons have lent the National Portrait Gallery photographs

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The Independent Culture

Audrey Hepburn’s sons, Sean Hepburn Ferrer and Luca Dotti, have lent personal photographs of their mother to the National Portrait Gallery (NPG), some of which have never been seen before in the UK.

The 35 rare pictures are part of the Audrey Hepburn: Portraits of an Icon exhibition this summer, which will chart her life, career and the development of her image.

Hepburn aged 13, is photographed by Manon van Suchtelen, performing a dance recital in Arnhem, Netherlands, in 1942, where she studied ballet at the Arnhem Conservatory, and is holding a bunch of flowers in a 1958 shot taken by Leo Fuchs on location in Africa for The Nun’s Story.

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1953 Sept. 22 Sabrina wardrobe test shots

Hepburn stands in shorts for a costume test for the romantic comedy Sabrina in 1953, which she starred in with Humphrey Bogart and William Holden. 

The earliest portrait from the family collection is a shot of Hepburn aged nine, in 1938, when she was at boarding school in Elham, Kent, before she returned to live with her mother in Arnhem from 1940. “It’s special to have prints from her personal collection and some of them are rare vintage prints,” says co-curator of the exhibition, Helen Trompeteler.

This is the first time the Hepburn family have supported a UK exhibition – a historical link between Hepburn and the NPG helped.

“During Hepburn’s early career in 1949 and 1950 in London, she appeared in reviews at Ciro’s Nightclub, which is now the public study room at the NPG,” says Trompeteler.

Another good find was the carefree photograph of Hepburn walking a dog in Richmond Park. Although not from the family collection but the Hulton Archive, it was an unpublished picture for a photo-essay in 1950 by Bert Hardy for Picture Post. It was taken during a break from Hepburn’s schedule for Sauce Piquante, a revue at the Cambridge Theatre.

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Actress Audrey Hepburn (1929 - 1993) exercising her dog in Richmond Park after a strenuous season in the London revue 'Sauce Piquante', 13th May 1950.

Portraits of Hepburn on show are also taken by leading photographers of the twentieth century, including Richard Avedon, Cecil Beaton, Angus McBean, Irving Penn, Terry O'Neill and Norman Parkinson.

Audrey Hepburn: Portraits of an Icon, National Portrait Gallery, London WC2 (www.npg.org.uk) 2 July to 18 October

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