I was sitting at my desk at the beginning of the working week, trying to work out which arts events to get to, to brighten my week and get the creative juices flowing. I like it best when events present themselves randomly, I read so many different things to find out about what’s going on sometimes its just nice to go with the flow. A colleague of mine suggested a lunchtime trip to the Hatton Gallery at Newcastle University, which I had read about but never visited. I was expecting something a bit obscure but was pleased to find out it was Marilyn Monroe – A British Love Affair – a selection of works from the National Portrait Gallery, including some Cecil Beaton shots. Despite the torrential rain and lack of umbrella, I braved the elements. I love classic movie stars (my favourite being Audrey Hepburn), and wanted to find out more about Marilyn, the quintessential tragic star.
The small exhibition was perfectly formed (like Miss Monroe) and included film posters, magazine covers from the beginning of her career, newspaper cuttings and film stills. The highlight for me were the gorgeous Cecil Beaton shots – the one on the Japanese sheets especially. He captured her at her most natural, but also at her most glamourous – no mean feat.
The exhibition perfectly complements the recent My Week with Marilyn film starring Michelle Williams, which covers the short time she spend filming in the UK, and concentrates on the work she did here and her connections with Britain. I liked immensely.