David Bailey Portrait of Laurence Olivier for London Sale

A portrait of Sir Laurence Olivier taken by David Bailey on the actor’s 80th birthday, two years before his death in 1989, is being sold at Bonhams, New Bond Street, as part of its sale of Photographs on 20 May 2010. It is expected to fetch £4,000 – 6,000.

Bailey subsequently donated the photograph to the charity auction ‘Going Going Gone’ at the Royal Court Theatre, London on 22 April 1990 in aid of the Oliver Building Appeal. It was acquired by the present owner at that auction, and is accompanied in this sale by the performance programme and auction catalogue for the evening signed by Lady Olivier.

Bailey recently revealed in The Observer that he had been apprehensive about the commission: “I thought: “How am I going to deal with this man?” But he drank two bottles of champagne and his nurse had to help him up the stairs. He was completely unpretentious and a very nice bloke.”