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The scrapbook

How a pamphlet and a painting helped connect a family through art.

In 1962 my mother visited the National Gallery during a trip to the UK, the land of her birth and childhood. She made a scrapbook of her trip and included in it a pamphlet from the Gallery requesting donations to raise funds for the Gallery to buy the Leonardo Burlington House Cartoon.

I never had the privilege of knowing my mother as she tragically passed away when I was only six weeks old. I have always longed to visit my mother's homeland and finally this June, at the age of 41, I met my UK family and took my 71-year-old father on our dream trip to Wales, Oxford and London.

You can well imagine how I felt standing before the Leonardo cartoon in the Renaissance gallery, knowing that my mother had stood there admiring it decades ago. Art is timeless and connects us to a collective past but in this case connected me to my own past and helped me to heal from the ache of longing.

Bronwen Louw, in remembrance of Marilyn Whitehead Ward

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