Jane Birkin & Serge Gainsbourg, ‘Bodlein Library’

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© Andrew Birkin
Oxford, U.K. 8 August 1969
Digital archival C-type print hand signed by the photographer
Edition of 20

Accompanied by a Certificate of Authenticity

This photograph depicts the couple on a bench sitting by The Bodleian Library, the main research library of the University of Oxford, one of the oldest libraries in Europe and the second-largest library in Britain after the British Library. The decades passed, the couple split, Gainsbourg's drinking and smoking caught up with him, and he died, but in her adopted France Birkin, now 72, will always be remembered as his muse and as a star in her own right. Lately she released the second volume of her memoirs, covering life after Gainsbourg.

The photographs were taken by Jane Birkin’s brother, Andrew, a film scriptwriter and director, who had been photographing his sister since he first bought a cheap camera in his teens. All shots had been carefully filed away for half a century, and some he had never seen printed before. He met Gainsbourg almost as soon as his sister did, when he was working with Stanley Kubrick on the eventually aborted project for An Epic Film of Napoleon, and she wrote from the set of the film Slogan, begging him to come and keep her company and cheer her up from her daily encounters with ‘a horrible man’, who was mocking and teasing her. Gainsbourg was, and remains a giant in French cultural circles, but Birkin was already well known from film roles including a famous nude scene in Michelangelo Antonioni’s 1966 film Blow Up. Maev Kennedy for the Guardian

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