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Friday, May 3, 2019

Adrienne Corri and The Search for Gainsborough

It is always interesting to discover the hobbies that actors have outside of their film and theatrical work. Adrienne Corri, who is perhaps best known for portraying the sensuous red-haired Valerie in Jean Renoir's The River ( 1953 ), had a most interesting passion: Thomas Gainsborough.

The Scottish-born actress had a life-long love of art and in the early 1980s she made a remarkable find: in a dilapidated Birmingham theatre, she spotted an early portrait of the actor/playwright David Garrick hanging upon the wall. She was convinced that it was the work of the English portrait and landscape painter Thomas Gainsborough, whose paintings she was very familiar with.  However, art experts whom she showed the painting to, disagreed with her. So, with admirable persistence, she set out to prove them wrong. Her investigations led to getting access to Bank of England ledgers where she found a record of the payment that Gainsborough had received for painting Garrick's portrait. This discovery revealed that Gainsborough had been commissioned to paint yet another portrait which Corri uncovered in 1982. A stroke of good fortune indeed! 

Adrienne Corri in the delightful "Make Me an Offer" ( 1954 )

In 1984, she published an account of this treasure hunt in an entertaining diary-formatted book entitled "The Search for Gainsborough" published by Jonathan Cape Ltd. 

This entry is a part of our latest series entitled "Did You Know?".....sometimes we just feel like sharing interesting fragments of television and movie history and now we have a place to do just that. If you have a hot tip that you would like us to share on Silver Scenes, drop us a line!

4 comments:

  1. I have a comment about a celebrity and her hobby. ANN JILLIAN has a collection of RAGGEDY ANN & ANDY dolls. Ann is married to a former cop named ANDY MURCIA. I read that Ann was already collecting the ANDY dolls before she met her husband(I think). Ann is known for the comedy show ITS A LIVING about cocktail waitresses. She played Cassie. Ann started acting as a child and was on HAZEL the final year as Millie, a high school student and part-time secretary for Steve Baxter. Ann was very good in dramatic TV-Movies.

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    1. Very interesting! It seems a lot of actresses collected dolls...but not too many of them Raggedy Ann and Andy dolls! I remember Ann Jillian from "Sammy the Way-Out Seal", one of Walt Disney's more obscure TV movies.

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  2. What a fascinating story about Adrienne Corri! I remember her well from THE RIVER as well as BUNNY LAKE IS MISSING (a fave) and Hammer movies such as the underrated VAMPIRE CIRCUS.

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    1. Yes, she was also famous for being the woman who is raped in "Clockwork Orange". Quite a varied career!

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