10 Sep 2018

MARILYN MONROE BACKGAMMON BOARD

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Marilyn Monroe may be the most photographed woman in the world, but there are still some images of the 20th-century movie icon that remain largely unseen – until now. Alexandra collaborated with Milton H. Greene’s Archive to create an exclusive limited-edition backgammon board featuring previously unpublished photographs of the iconic screen legend. Handmade in the UK and encased in a Macassar ebony box. 

This series of portraits was taken in September 1953 by her friend, the celebrated photographer Milton H. Greene. They feature the actress in a negligee, draped in fur, with a sparkling diamond bracelet on her wrist. At the time Monroe had a sprained ankle so she posed sitting, kneeling or lying on the floor for most of the three-day photo shoot. Greene used a 35mm Nikon to capture his luminous subject, producing an exceptionately intimate, personal mood as a result.

Greene’s and Monroe’s relationship is much documented; they met during a shoot for Look magazine, then later when Monroe studied at Lee Strasberg’s Actor’s Studio in New York she stayed with Greene and his family in Connecticut. Greene and Monroe went on to become business partners, forming Marilyn Monroe Productions, which produced the films Bus Stop and The Prince and the Showgirl. The legacy of their rapport outlives them both: 50 photo sessions produced 3,000 immortal images, including some of the most famous and beloved portraits of the star. See photograph of Greene and Monroe below, courtesty of the estate of Milton H. Greene.

Only one of the photographs has ever been published. Four images from the same session will appear in a forthcoming book, but seven have been reserved solely for the backgammon board. Each backgammon board has its own individual number, which is engraved in the inlaid brass triangles, as is Greene’s signature. Playing pieces of polished black marble and contrasting mother-of-pearl inlaid into polished brass complement the glamorous portraiture. Black leather shakers, lined in suede, with precision-cut casino-quality dice complete the tournament-size board.