One of the most photographed women in the world, Elizabeth Taylor was a woman of style and substance, whose appeal has lost none of its potency. Though she was mesmerizingly beautiful, Taylor seemed largely uninterested in preserving her pictorial legacy. “Her mother,” says Charlie Scheips, project director of the Elizabeth Taylor Archive, “was the great archivist of her life. Elizabeth Taylor was worried about now. She was a person of the present.”
Thankfully, the actress’s Trust is as concerned with conservation and continuation of the star’s legacy as her mama was. Two years ago, an official Elizabeth Taylor Instagram account was set up to honor the star and create an interactive and shared platform for fans, and Scheips and team were tasked with sorting through dusty boxes and unopened envelopes found in storage rooms and houses in the U.S. and abroad. In the process, they uncovered unseen gems, three of which the Elizabeth Taylor Trust has shared exclusively with Vogue.com, in advance of a larger reveal on @elizabethtaylor to coincide with what would have been her 84th birthday, this Oscar weekend. “They’re just so incredible,” says the Trust’s Cristin Klein, “that we don’t want to keep them for ourselves.”
Portrait of Elizabeth Taylor, 1948
Taken in the star’s MGM dressing room, this photograph, explains Scheips, was a publicity still for Julia Misbehaves. He believes that the polka-dot-print outfit and feather ball hat are by the film’s costume designer, Irene.
Portrait of Elizabeth Taylor, 1951, by Virgil Apger
Taylor was filming Father’s Little Dividend, the sequel to Father of the Bride, when this picture was taken by the prolific MGM studio photographer Virgil Apger. This dress, Scheips says, is quite like the one Helen Rose designed for Taylor’s wedding to Conrad “Nicky” Hilton.
Portrait of Elizabeth Taylor with Richard Burton, 1963
Scheips believes this photograph of Taylor and Burton, taken during the time the pair were filming Night of the Iguana (Burton is holding a script), was taken by Francis or Sara Taylor. They are on the terrace of Casa Kimberley, which, a year after this picture was taken, Burton presented to Taylor for her 32nd birthday.
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