Rare and candid photographs of Audrey Hepburn unveiled in new London exhibition

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An unpublished photo of Audrey Hepburn running through Richmond Park, snaps of her beginning her career on the stage in London's West End theatre, behind the 'photo shoot' scenes and rarely seen images of the film star's family life make up a fascinating new photography exhibition opening at the National Portrait Gallery next month. 

Bringing together a remarkable selection of both classic and rare photographs of the successful British actress: Audrey Hepburn: Portraits of an Icon, will run from 2 July until 18 October 2015.

The exhibition documents her rise to fame, from her early years in Holland, as a dancer and chorus girl in London, to her becoming a stage and screen icon, culminating in her philanthropic work in later life through a series of stunning images.

The show includes works by leading photographers of the twentieth century including Richard Avedon, Cecil Beaton, Angus McBean, Irving Penn and Norman Parkinson and fans will get to see images of their icon performing in revues at London’s leading nightclub Ciro’s, in her early twenties.

Located on Orange Street and now the National Portrait Gallery’s public Archive and study room, these cameos by Audrey were some of her earliest in London and contributed towards the launch of her career, leading to her being talent spotted for a number of early British films including One Wild Oat (1951), Laughter in Paradise (1951) and Secret People (1952).

A rarely-seen photograph by Mark Shaw, taken during the making of Sabrina in 1953 and published as a photo essay in Life magazine, offers a unique insight into Hepburn’s life on and off-set, as Shaw was granted unprecedented behind-the-scenes access.

Also included in the exhibition will be 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, taken by Howell Conant.

Original film posters will complete this treasured story of one of the world’s most photographed women.

Photographs by Larry Fried, showing Hepburn in her dressing room on Broadway for Gigi (1951); Hepburn captured in Italy during the filming of War and Peace (1955) by Philippe Halsman and George Daniell and publicity photographs for Funny Face (1957) will be among the portraits on show, documenting Hepburn’s transformation throughout the 1950s, and her key roles on stage and screen.

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