Monday, July 02, 2012

Richard and Sybil

I've written elsewhere on this blog about Sybil Williams, spurned and humiliated first wife of Richard Burton, who went on to become a fixture on the New York club scene - a rather odd but redemptive journey. Legend has it that she has NEVER given a retrospective interview about the break-up of her relationship with Burton. This dignified silence has won her admiration in many quarters and helped cultivate around her a certain aura of mystique. There are plenty of photographs knocking about of Sybil and Burton as a couple arriving at various functions but it is rare to see a posed studio shot of them together. This double full-length portrait was completed in 1961 by the great Bert Stern who is perhaps best known for his pictures of Marilyn Monroe, taken shortly before her death. For some odd reason Burton is wearing his jacket back to front while Sybil is kitted out in a smart Burke-Amey suit.

*Photograph is ©Condé Nast Archive/Corbis