Tag Archives: David Gainsborough Roberts

Gainsborough-Roberts Collection in London


Marilyn Monroe: The Legacy of a Legend, an exhibition of the David Gainsborough Roberts collection, opened at London’s Design Centre last week. Fellow collector Scott Fortner attended the launch, alongside impersonator Suzie Kennedy and actress Linda Gray (aka Sue-Ellen Ewing from TV’s Dallas.)

Photo by Scott Fortner

In an article for the Telegraph, Bethan Holt discussed the ‘lipstick, diamonds and cigarettes’ among Marilyn’s personal effects, while Ben Miller looks at the ‘vulnerability and humanity’ revealed by her drawings and notes in his review for Culture24.


After closing on June 20, the collection will move to the Museum of Style Icons at Newbridge in County Kildare, Ireland, where it will be on display from June 25-July 25.

All photos by Scott Fortner @MarilynMonroeCollection

Julien’s Adds Strasberg Estate to November Auction


If the recently-announced November sale of David Gainsborough-Roberts‘ Marilyn collection wasn’t spectacular enough, here comes news that Lee Strasberg’s Monroe archive will also be included. A limited edition, box-set catalogue is also on sale for $250. The list isn’t yet online, but collector Scott Fortner gives us a sneak preview on his blog today. Many items were previously featured in the books Fragments and MM – Personal, and have never been up for sale until now. “I’ve always thought that the 1999 Christie’s auction, ‘The Personal Property of Marilyn Monroe’, would most certainly be the most important auction ever when it came to Marilyn,” Scott writes. “However, Julien’s Auctions is moving into this same category…”

Gainsborough-Roberts Collection: Tour and Sale

juliens dgr 2016

The collection of David Gainsborough Roberts – one of the world’s largest Marilyn archives, including many of her iconic movie costumes – will be sold in November, Julien’s Auctions has announced.

Although the live auction will be held in Los Angeles, UK fans will be able to see Roberts’ full collection at London’s Design Centre from May 25- June 20. It will then visit the Newbridge Museum of Style Icons in Ireland from June 25-July 25, before crossing the Atlantic on Cunard’s Queen Mary 2 in August, with more US exhibition dates to be confirmed.

Fellow collector Scott Fortner has been helping to catalogue the items, and is reporting his findings on the MM Collection blog. And finally, here’s an excerpt from the Julien’s press release.

“Highlights from this historic sale include a sheer black beaded and sequined dress worn by Monroe in her Golden Globe winning role Sugar Kane as she crooned ‘I’m Through With Love’ in the award winning 1959 film Some Like it Hot; an elaborate embellished stage gown worn by Monroe as she sang ‘After You Get What You Want You Don’t Want It’ in the 1954 comedy There’s No Business Like Show Business which was designed by one of Marilyn’s all-time favorite designers, William Travilla; a pink linen halter wiggle dress designed for Monroe by Dorothy Jenkins for the 1953 thriller Niagara; a green satin one-piece with black sequins and gold fringe worn by Monroe as she sang ‘That Old Black Magic’ in the 1956 film Bus Stop; a lilac satin leotard worn by Monroe as Lillian Russell in the 1958 photo series by Richard Avedon and featured in Life magazine in 1958. Additional film pieces offered include costumes from Gentlemen Prefer Blondes and Let’s Make Love, along with a pair of rhinestone earrings worn by Monroe in How To Marry A Millionaire and a pair of sequin embellished opera gloves from the Rachmaninoff scene of The Seven Year Itch.

Monroe’s personal style is represented by a figure hugging black cocktail dress by Ceil Chapman, a favorite of Monroe; a slender fitting bias cut crepe evening gown worn by Monroe to the 1955 premiere of The Rose Tattoo; an embellished slubbed silk Lanvin gown; and rhinestone jewelry. Personal items include prescription pill bottles, Victoria and Albert museum exhibited high heels, a plastic doll in the likeness of Monroe given as a souvenir at her 34th birthday party; documents and correspondences; household items; and Monroe’s Detroit Free Press New Faces Award from 1952.”

David Gainsborough Roberts to Sell Marilyn Collection


One of the world’s leading collectors of Marilyn memorabilia, David Gainsborough Roberts, will be selling his collection next year – probably in time for her 90th birthday, reports BBC News.

I was fortunate enough to see part of Mr Roberts’ collection at Renishaw Hall in Derbyshire (ancestral home of Marilyn’s poet friend, Dame Edith Sitwell), back in 2005. You can order a catalogue from the American Museum in Bath.

‘Famous and Infamous’ at Christie’s

Impersonator Suzie Kennedy models earrings worn by Marilyn in 'How to Marry a Millionaire'
Impersonator Suzie Kennedy models earrings worn by Marilyn in ‘How to Marry a Millionaire’

David Gainsborough Roberts’ collection of Marilyn’s costumes and personal items is well-known to fans. I was lucky enough to see it at Renishaw Hall, Derbyshire in 2005 (the ancestral home of Marilyn’s poet friend, Dame Edith Sitwell.) He has also exhibited his Monroe collection at the American Museum in Bath, and London’s Getty Images Gallery.

However, Mr Roberts has also purchased items belonging to many other stars, historical figures, and even a few notorious criminals. A selection of his acquisitions – including Marilyn’s red beaded dress from Gentlemen Prefer Blondes – is on display until September 2nd at Christie’s, South Kensington. In an interview with the celebrated auction house, he revealed how the red Travilla dress spurred a lifelong pursuit:

“It was 1991, I’d bought several things at Christie’s, and this Marilyn dress came up. The model was a good friend of mine, Pauline Bailey. I bid £16,000, something like that, and the press went bananas, she jumped up and down – I must have looked terrified! It took off from there, the next day I arrived back here in Jersey and my mother said to me ‘what have you been doing? The phone hasn’t stopped.’  And I said ‘believe me, seven days from now, Marilyn Monroe, Pauline Bailey and me – nobody will give a damn’ and the phone hasn’t stopped since 1991.”

Another MM lookalike, Suzie Kennedy, appeared at the opening of ‘Famous and Infamous’ yesterday, reports the Daily Mail.

Suzie Kennedy poses with Marilyn's red dress from 'Gentlemen Prefer Blondes'
Suzie Kennedy poses with Marilyn’s red dress from ‘Gentlemen Prefer Blondes’

Getty’s MM Exhibit in London

An exhibition of items from the David Gainsborough Roberts collection will run at London’s Getty Images Gallery from March 9 – May 24, ATV reports:

“Marilyn will include imagery from Monroe’s early years as an aspiring actress through to her rise to international stardom. Accompanying the photographs will be original film costumes and dresses from the legendary collection of David Gainsborough Roberts, owner of one of the largest collections of Marilyn Monroe memorabilia in the world. Original video will also be shown ensuring Marilyn offers an unrivalled glimpse into the life of one of the world’s most famous stars.

Marilyn runs from Friday 9th March to Sunday 24th May 2012 and admission is free. The Getty Images Gallery is situated in central London, just a stone’s throw away from Oxford Circus. Opening hours are Monday to Friday 10am-5.30pm and Saturday 12pm-5.30pm.

A smaller exhibition will also be on display at Getty Images Gallery in Westfield Stratford City at a slightly later date of 23rd March to 3rd June 2012.”


Investing in Marilyn

Dress from 'There's No Show Business' (1954)

David Gainsborough Roberts, whose collection is on display at the Marilyn – Hollywood Icon exhibit, in Bath’s American Museum, talks to Paul Fraser Collectibles:

“So, there’s been enormous interest in film stars in general. It’s a very, very good investment – and Marilyn is probably the best investment in the world…That’s why, with a lot of the small stuff I’ve bought of Marilyn’s, I bought from Ralph Roberts. He was one of the only 14 people to go to her funeral, one of her closest friends. So if Ralph told me that was it, that was it.”

‘No Material Girl’

Today’s Evening Standard includes a feature on the ‘Marilyn – Hollywood Icon’ exhibition (from the collection of David Gainsborough Roberts), on show at the American Museum, Bath, opening in March.

As well as the movie costumes, Roberts’ collection includes many small items which Marilyn kept all her life (such as a well-worn, miniature skating figurine, a gift from her mother.) In contrast to her glamorous image, Marilyn lived quite simply.

“From the objects in the collection I’ve realised how much she’d gone through in her life, only to fall slowly to pieces at the end – a tragedy.”

Laura Beresford, Curator

‘Hollywood Icon’ Exhibit in Bath

Bikini from 'The Misfits', 1960

Marilyn – Hollywood Icon

12 March – 31 October 2011

Unlike other ‘Marilyn’ exhibitions of recent years, the American Museum’s 50th anniversary extravaganza will be packed full of costumes actually worn by Monroe.  The twenty costumes on display are not replicas but the real thing – just like the lady herself.  These include:

·   The pink ‘wiggle’ dress from Niagara (1952) – Marilyn’s first major role that established her ‘blonde bombshell’ image.

·   The red sequined gown she wore in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953)

·   The green show costume Marilyn wore in Bus Stop (1956)

·   The iconic cocktail dress from Some Like It Hot (1959) in which Marilyn crooned ‘I’m Through With Love’.

·   The bikini she wore in The Misfits (1961), her last completed film.

Personal items owned by Monroe will also be exhibited here for the first time in the UK.  Poignantly, these include the silver ring given to the star by her disturbed mother, Gladys, who spent most of her life in metal institutions – as did Marilyn’s grandparents.

All of the costumes and objects on display at the American Museum are part of the David Gainsborough Roberts Collection, an extraordinary gathering of celebrity memorabilia created during the past twenty years.

MM Exhibition in Jersey

Photo by Robert Siney

Venue: Jersey Museum

Date: Wednesday 25th March 2009 – Thursday 30th September 2010

An incredible collection of stage and personal costumes worn by the screen idol Marilyn Monroe. On display for the first time in one exhibition, this stunning collection combines these iconic costumes with accessories, jewellery, keepsakes and trinkets owned by Marilyn. This exhibition is a window into the life of the ultimate Hollywood star.

This exhibition brings together dresses, gowns and swimwear that Marilyn wore in her films.

The Fireball, Niagara, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, How to Marry a Millionaire, There’s No Business Like Showbusiness, The Seven Year Itch, Bus Stop, The Prince and the Showgirl, Some Like it Hot and The Misfits.

Also shown, many for the first time is artwork, personal items, clothes, letters, jewellery and awards owned by the screen icon Marilyn Monroe.

Collection loaned by local resident David Gainsborough Roberts

The Marilyn exhibition catalogue is available to buy from Jersey Museum, or online.


EXTRA: Video footage from MM fan Lady Doryan