Meet some more members of my family.

As regular visitors to my blog may have noticed. I’m a very family orientated person, and love sharing news about them. I only have one sibling, and even though our personalities are very different, my sister and I are the best of friends. Yvonne has always been somewhat of an extrovert, and I remember her at a very young age, ‘playing the drums’ on our metal dustbin lid. Not a great hit with the neighbours, so her aspirations as a rock drummer died an early death. I was sent for piano lessons, whilst she had singing lessons, and soon she was winning first prize in all the local music festivals. I remember the two of us entering a talent competition at the beachfront, during one summer holiday. She won first prize with a stunning rendition ofΒ  the very moving religious Victorian ballad,’The Holy City’. Following that, in stark and comical contrast, the two of us had the audience in stitches, as we sang and enacted that old song, “There’s A Hole In My Bucket.” She was Henry and I was Liza, and we made some good pocket money out of that particular episode. She went on to study singing at college, and became an opera singer with the D’Oyly Carte Opera Company in London, supplementing her income with a bit of modelling and acting in her spare time. On the wall of her art studio, is a framed newspaper clipping from the 1970’s, when in a moment of zany madness, she posed for a well-known British tabloid, and earned herself the dubious reputation of being the D’Oyly Carte’s one and only ‘Page Three Girl’.


Our dad only found out about this because one of his colleagues brought it to work to show him. He was not amused, or so he said. πŸ™‚ Freddy Lloyd O.B.E.,the General Manager of the D’Oyly Carte at the time, summoned Yvonne to his office, and she was sure that he was going to give her notice for bringing the opera company into disrepute, but fortunately for her, he had a great sense of humour, and suggested, tongue in cheek, that they might find a way of interpolating her scanty outfit into the last night of the London season. Sadly, the idea was dropped, but I’m sure she’d have been a hit with the opera goers.

About eight years ago, she and her friend decided to go for art lessons, just for something to do, and her art teacher has really brought out the artistic talent which had lain dormant within her, for more than fifty years. Now, she spends much of her time, happily painting a variety of subjects. She loves the African bush and enjoys painting the animals found there, especially leopards.


She also has a great talent for painting portraits of Southern African people.


She was commissioned to paint the late Nelson Mandela, and this painting now hangs in a South African museum dedicated to his memory.


After my sister had been painting for a while, she did some research into our family history, and discovered that our great, great uncle was non other than Jan Toorop, the first Dutch Symbolist Impressionist and Art Nouveau Painter, which might explain why she has such artistic talent. Some of you may remember my post about her paintings being exhibited in Moscow last year. Who would ever have imagined that something like this could happen at this stage in her life? If she hadn’t taken that first step, she’d still be thinking that she couldn’t paint or draw anything other than matchstick men. I wonder how many of us have hidden talents which will never be used. It’s certainly food for thought, isn’t it?

Yvonne has just started a blog on WordPress, and if you would like to see portraits which she has done of her family, including one our late father, just click here. Tell her I sent you; I know she’ll be delighted to meet you.

108 comments on “Meet some more members of my family.

  1. I love love LOVE this post, Sylvia. It goes without saying that your sisters paintings are fantastic, but what I really love about this post is that it highlights that it is never NEVER too late to uncover one’s hidden talent or to strive & dream big. Thank you for sharing πŸ™‚

  2. I do recall that post, Sylvia. I thought her artowrk was magnificent then. Now, knowing a little more of the family history I can see that she inherited that super talent. She is GREAT at it. I hope she continue to have wonderful exhibitions in the future. BTW … she is quite a beauty …. as are all in your family (children/grandkids) and you. I must put my glasses on. LOL 😎 πŸ˜„

  3. Oh, I remember the post about her painting, but it is cool to see she has some other talents too πŸ˜‰ What a wonderful discovery about your great, great uncle. Somehow I am not surprised. xx

    • Hahaha. My darling sister, you’ll always be glamorous in my eyes. Glad you enjoyed all the visits. Yes there are some lovely people here on WordPress. btw A master artist is giving classes here at the club, and takes beginners too, so my friend and I have I signed up. Let’s see if I can progress beyond stick people. πŸ™‚ xx

      • That’s great!! I’m so glad you have decided to give it a go. Just remember I failed my Art O Level!! I also didn’t think I could draw anything more than a stick figure either!! πŸ™‚ xxx

  4. Great post. Fascinating how life can take one through a series of distinct roles. Mind you, those with a strong creative impulse will find outlets and different media of expression. πŸ™‚

  5. Wasn’t she gorgeous? You know that old saying, ‘if you’ve got it, flaunt it’, Ad? Well, I think she did a pretty good job! So talented too. It runs in your family, you lucky lass πŸ™‚ Have a great weekend!

  6. What a very talented family Sylvia and those paintings by Yvonne are so realistic. What an honour to be commissioned to do the portrait of Nelson Mandela. I’m going over now to say G’day and will add Yvonne’s blog to my reader. Thank you for telling us all about your family.

  7. non sono cosΓ¬ esperta in grossi felini da capire bene se sia unaa pantera o un ocelot quello delle due foto…chiunque esso sia ha moltissima affinitΓ  con Yvanne!!! non trovi?

  8. Isn’t it interesting how certain gifts are passed down through a family? Both of you so talented!
    Thanks for letting us see her artwork…it’s outstanding…

  9. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again Sylvia, your sister is an amazingly talented woman, in so many ways. I was astounded by her artwork in your previous post and enjoyed reading more about her now. I will go over and say hi to her. Of course, she also happens to have a wonderfully talented, lovely sister…YOU πŸ™‚ xx

  10. Sylvia, what a talented sister you have – that painting with the drinking leopard I thought at first was an image and I love the portrait of the young woman with all the necklaces. You have a very colorful family, fantastic. Thank you for sharing.
    Been over to your sister and said hello.
    I really like the photo of Yvonne too … a free spirit. Beautiful post.

  11. Hi Sylvia πŸ˜€ What a fabulous family you have my friend ! The paintings are just Wow ! I used to read the most intelligent page of the Sun newspaper in the 70’s …… Page 3 ! Well I was in the British Army then ! xox ❀

  12. What a wonderful tribute to your Sister, a truly remarkable woman. She’s an inspiration to us all to continue to try new things, no matter our age. How else does one discover hidden talents? πŸ™‚

  13. Wow what a talented family…between painting and dancing I really don’t know who comes tops…clearly an artistic streak running through there πŸ™‚
    How is the house renovation coming along?

  14. You’re one talented family Sylvia !
    How wonderful to discover a gift like this and then find a connection with one’s family history .
    A fun loving sister with huge talent πŸ˜‰

  15. Sigh, I was probably 5 or 10 when she was a page 3 girl, so besides a fantastic painter she is an opera singer to boot and with D’Oyle? A true triple threat..:-)
    somehow I can picture her in the Pirates of Penzance..

  16. wow! she does indeed have great talent. those paintings are awesome! I too have a sister who is very different than I am and we are also very close. we just focus on the stuff we have in common and leave the other stuff by the wayside. thanks for sharing your sister with us. fun!!

  17. Wow now that is talent… as for the page 3…. have they not seen you in a tee shit and shorts in the snow?
    Going over to her blog now…. can she take a ribbing like you can?

  18. What a talented family. Thank you for sharing so many things about your family. It reminds us that we are more than just words, pictures and songs behind our blogs. We have work to do and family to care for and lives to live. We don’t just sit in front of the computer writing blogs and waiting for likes and comments. (Well, maybe some of us do. 😦 lol )
    You are very lucky to be close to your family. πŸ™‚

    • Thanks so much. Your comment about the ‘likes and comments’, really made me πŸ˜† . Yes, we are real people who live in a very real world, and it’s good to share our joys and even our sadnesses with others here.

  19. It’s a very inspirational story Sylvia.. I find the page three thing hilarious. I can just imagine how your Dad reacted at the time. Please send Yvonne my best wishes! πŸ™‚

  20. What a talented sister you have. I’ve admired her African art through your blogs, but learning of the “page three opera queen” story is a real delight. I just left a comment on her blog. Her family is so fortunate to have these portraits. Has she done yours? (The Mandela portrait is incredible. What a gift she has. )

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