Esther Williams

Esther Williams, swimming champion and star of Hollywood ‘aqua musicals’.

She had three children, Kimball, Susan and Benjamin.

Picasso has given Williams extra pubic and underarm hair (bet MGM would’ve loved that) and drawn an amorous Jaume Sabartés beside her. Esther doesn’t seem to care, though.

Taken from an NPG leaflet: ‘Picasso Portraits’, October 2016 – February 2017. I can’t find a mention of the photographer, I guess Picasso didn’t worry about that sort of thing the way I do.

You can see the full patchwork, here

Judy Garland

Judy Garland, mother of Liza, Lorna and Joey. She is pictured here as Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz (1939). Cinematographer: Harold Rosson. Taken from a Barbican leaflet, below.

She was performing from a very young age. Her parents were vaudevillians.

She died in London at the age of 47.

Film Men told her she was unattractive and manipulated her appearance. She was only sixteen when she made The Wizard Of Oz. The bastards put her on a strict diet and gave her pills and tobacco to suppress her appetite.

Apparently, it was the norm at MGM to give out ‘pep pills’ to child stars, and then sleeping pills at the end of the day. Garland battled with this kind of shit for the rest of her too-short life.


See the full patchwork here

Olga Picasso

Olga Picasso (Khokhlova) was a Russian ballet dancer and wife of Pablo. This is a 1923 portrait by Picasso. They had a son together, named Paulo, who features in a lot of Picasso’s art.

Here is an interesting excerpt from John Richardson’s biography. It’s Picasso’s mother doing the talking, upon first meeting Olga.

“You poor girl, you don’t know what you’re letting yourself in for,” she supposedly told her. “If I were a friend, I would tell you not to do it under any conditions. I don’t believe any woman would be happy with my son. He’s available for himself but for no one else.”

Whether Picasso’s mother said this or not, is irrelevant, I believe that last sentence to be completely true.

Very, very few woman have been able to give themselves so utterly to their work.

His second wife killed herself, as did a long-time mistress and his grandson. Paulo drank himself to death, I believe. However brilliant (and it is) his art, almost everyone related to Picasso was wounded by him.

Here is a little Picasso-related-something I made a few years back.

You can see the full patchwork here

The square was cut from the NPG leaflet, below.

Madonna And Child

Madonna and Child.

Part of The Hours Of Isabella Stuart, c1431.

It is taken from a leaflet for an exhibition (Colour: The Art And Science Of Illuminated Manuscripts, July-Dec 2016) at the Fitzwilliam Museum.

This brings me to something I had no intention of talking about. For some reason, I couldn’t separate Paper Madonna from Paper Jesus. It’s not a religious thing, because I consider myself to be an atheist (not completely true, some things are deep rooted), it’s a mother thing. I feel the same way about regular paper mothers and paper children as I do about devine ones.

You can see the whole piece, here

Marlene Dietrich

Marlene Dietrich, in London, by Cecil Beaton, 1936.

According to Wikipedia, her first job was playing the violin in the pit orchestra of a Berlin cinema. I hope this is true, such poetry in her ending up on the silver screen.


She had one child, Maria. When, in 1948, Maria had her first baby, the pressed dubbed Dietrich, “The World’s most glamorous grandmother”.

Maria, herself, was an actress from a young age. She came out of semi-retirement to perform a cameo role, as Mrs. Rhinelander, in Bill Murray’s Scrooged (2001).

The square was cut from What’s On, March-May 2016, National Portrait Gallery. Condé Nast Publications. I rescued it from a pulping.

You can see the rest of the piece here

Herodias, Maybe…

A number of weeks ago, when I first cut the above square, I knew this woman was Herodias, mother of Salome. Now, I am not sure if I know that.

I love the way she sadly observes Picasso’s treatment of Esther Williams, whilst being given the eye by Marlene Dietrich, and an oblivious Judy Garland stares out into the youthful distance.

The first face on my Patchwork Of Mothers, has been taken from a picture of ‘Salome Receives The Head Of John The Baptist’, by Caravaggio (c1609-10).

Since Salome’s mother plays such a big part in the story, I have always assumed it was her in the painting, and I still think this, I just can’t find any proof. The only mention I can find is ‘the old woman’.

I mean, look at the way she is leaning over Salome’s shoulder (below). Surely her mother?

Also, whilst looking for clarification, I discovered that some experts doubt this is even the work of Caravaggio.

So, a good I-have-no-information start for my patchwork, the rest of which you can see below.

Anyway, I cut it from a National Gallery (What’s On, Autumn 2016) leaflet, left on a cafe table last year.


Mothers Patchwork

The credits for each square are below:

Mother 1 : Herodias, maybe.      Mother 2: Marlene Dietrich       Mother 3: Madonna

Mother 4: Olga Picasso        Mother 5: Judy Garland         Mother 6: Esther Williams

Mother 7: Twiggy         Mother 8: Princess Margaret      Mother 9: Sarah Forbes Bonetta

Mother 10: Naomi James      Mother 11: Barbra Streisand     Mother 12: Artemisia Gentileschi

Mother 13: Pregnant Woman        Mother 14: Mary Beale       Mother 15: Pam’s Mummy

Mother 16: Joan Maude