oil, 1945

Kitty Wilson was a remarkable woman. Born in Deal, she worked for Dr Barnado’s in Essex for several years, caring for young disabled girls. In 1929 she travelled to Kalimpong in India to look after deprived children, returning to Essex after a few years and became matron of a Barnardo’s centre for girls and young children. Later she set up home with her husband in Saffron Walden and went on to care for over 250 foster children. They described her as a ‘mother in a million’ and in March 1983 she was surprised by Eamonn Andrews at Liverpool Street Station in an edition of This Is Your Life.

Anne Rothenstein, daughter of Ayers, recalled ‘She (Wilson) was a kind, authoritative woman, caught perfectly in this portrait, and her house, while welcoming, was quiet and dark in my memory, so like the beautiful muted colours of this painting’.

Presented by Mrs Kitty Wilson