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Audrey Hepburn’s family opens up her attic for auction. See pics

Film scripts, dresses and other treasures from late film legend Audrey Hepburn’s Swiss attic are going up for sale in London at an auction that offers a remarkable insight into her personal world.

more lifestyle Updated: Sep 23, 2017 12:30 IST
A selection of photographs of the iconic actress Audrey Hepburn by renowned photographer Cecil Beaton on show at Christie's auction house in London. Hepburn's sons Luca Dotti and Sean Hepburn-Ferrer are jointly selling some of their mother’s personal possessions at auction on September 27.
A selection of photographs of the iconic actress Audrey Hepburn by renowned photographer Cecil Beaton on show at Christie's auction house in London. Hepburn's sons Luca Dotti and Sean Hepburn-Ferrer are jointly selling some of their mother’s personal possessions at auction on September 27. (AP/Alastair Grant)

“My mother kept it in the attic, quite literally,” Hepburn’s son Luca Dotti told AFP at a viewing of the more than 500 lots at Christie’s auction house ahead of the sale next week.

“My mother was not a collector but she kept every little bits and pieces for sentimental reasons”.

An employee poses at a dressing table displaying a jewellery box, circa 1970, with a reserve price of £1,000 - £1,500 (L) and a Swiss white-plastic rotary dial telephone by Autophon, 1960s, with a reserve price of £400 - £600 during a preview of Audrey Hepburn’s personal collection at Christie’s auction house. (AFP/Daniel Leal-Olivas)

An array of luggage being sold off includes a battered black-lacquered suitcase she is believed to have arrived in London with to take up a ballet scholarship in 1948, before she became one of the world’s most famous actresses.

An employee poses in front of the My Fair Lady, 1964, working script with a reserve price of £30,000 - £50,000. (AFP/Daniel Leal-Olivas)

The working script for the 1961 film Breakfast at Tiffany’s, including deleted scenes, is another rarity being sold along with numerous other scripts featuring Hepburn’s hand-written notes.

A visitor walks during a preview of Audrey Hepburn's personal collection. (AFP/Daniel Leal-Olivas)

Glamorous dresses by designers including Givenchy and Valentino -- which her son Sean Hepburn-Ferrer noted few would fit into -- have been put on display alongside playful clothing including a 1964 Spanish matador outfit.

An employee holds the My Fair Lady, 1964/Gene Allen cigarette lighter with a reserve price of £3,000 - £5,000. (AFP/Daniel Leal-Olivas)

‘Little personal things’

Hepburn was born in Belgium on May 4, 1929, and moved to the Netherlands with her family after the outbreak of World War II. They went hungry for months during the way while on the run from Nazi troops.

She made her film debut in 1948, playing an air stewardess in Dutch in Seven Lessons, an educational travel film, and moved to London later that year to seek her fortune.

An employee poses alongside a display of outfits during a preview of Audrey Hepburn's personal collection. (AFP/Daniel Leal-Olivas)

Hepburn had her first starring role in Roman Holiday (1953), playing a European princess who falls in love with Gregory Peck who plays an American journalist. Hepburn She married American actor Mel Ferrer in 1954.

They divorced in 1968, the same year that she met her second husband, Italian psychiatrist Andrea Dotti, on a Mediterranean cruise. She died in Switzerland in 1993 at the age of 63.

A colourless paste tiara from the film A Nun's Story owned by the iconic actress Audrey Hepburn. (AP/Alastair Grant)

The film star’s family said they chose to keep a number of items like her collection of awards, including the Oscar statuette she won for Roman Holiday.

Other items were also too sentimental to sell, including family photos from Hepburn’s childhood. “I’m particularly fond of the beginnings.Her life before becoming Audrey Hepburn,” Dotti said.

But the collection does include some more personal pieces such as My Garden Flowers -- a 1969 artwork by Hepburn that she painted while pregnant with Dotti.

The sale also includes her American cine camera, pointing to the actress’s interest in also documenting life from the other side of the camera.

A serpent belt by Kenneth Jay Lane, 1970s, with a reserve price of £700 - £1,000 on display at the preview. (AFP/Daniel Leal-Olivas)

Adrian Hume-Sayer, Christie’s director of private collections, said the sale was “pretty extensive”.

An employee poses in front of an installation displaying pairs of leather ballet pumps during the preview. (AFP/Daniel Leal-Olivas)

“There’s lots of little personal things,” he said, pointing to the telephones from her house in Switzerland and a make-up case monogrammed with her initials.

An employee holds a monogrammed powder compact Ciardetti, Firenze, 1950s, with a reserve price of £2,000 - £3,000. (AFP/Daniel Leal-Olivas)

He said the “backbone” of the sale was the annotated film scripts, adding that the collection as a whole had been carefully put together to “tell a story”.