Woman painted by artist Joan Eardley in 1955 sees picture for first time

Margaret Livingstone with the painting Brother and Sister in which she features as a young girl. PIC: Contributed/ Grant Anderson.
Margaret Livingstone with the painting Brother and Sister in which she features as a young girl. PIC: Contributed/ Grant Anderson.
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A woman who was painted as a child by artist Joan Eardley has seen the famous work for the first time, some 55 years later.

Margaret Livingstone and her older brother Alan were captured by Eardley in her painting Brother and Sister.

Mrs Livingstone was taken into care shortly afterwards and lost touch with her brother for many years.

Yesterday, in Aberdeen, she fought back tears after she was shown the work for the first time.

READ MORE: Joan Eardley: The grand lady of Scottish art

She described it as “gorgeous and beautiful” and said her brother, who has since passed away, would have been ‘so happy’ to see it.

Mrs Livingstone said she did not remember much about Eardley, who worked out of a studio in Townhead, Glasgow, for many years where she became interested in depicting children and family in the most impoverished parts of the city.

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Mrs Livingstone added: “I don’t remember much about her (the artist) and I wish I did, I wish I knew what she was thinking, I wish she was here to ask.

“I am so pleased to have been able to see it.”

Seeing the painting was a hugely important step for Ms Livingstone, who views the work as a link to her lost past.

She first heard about the painting from her brother, who holds a protective are around her in the picture.

The children were left largely to fend for themselves while their mother worked in the local steamie.

After she was separated form her family, Ms Livingstone spent time in two children’s homes and at the age of 10 she was fostered by a family in Kilmarnock.

From there she spent a year at the King Street Home for Girls in Aberdeen and became a live-in mother’s help for a family in Newton Mearns in Glasgow.

Aged 15 she moved to London, where she lived and worked until her retirement in 2010. She now lives in Essex.

Mrs Livingstone was reunited with her mother and brother in 1985 following help from the Salvation Army.

Both have since passed away with Ms Livingstone later told by her daughter that Brother and Sister had been shown in a London gallery where it was on loan from Aberdeen Art Gallery and Museums.

With long links to the north east, Eardley lived for many years in the village of Catterline, near Stonehaven, after graduating from Glasgow School of Art.