Doris Zinkeisen painted this portrait of her twin daughters, Janet and Anne Grahame Johnstone, together with her niece, Julia Heseltine, in the late 1940s or early 1950s.

Zinkeisen was born in Rosneath, Scotland, and – together with her sister Anna – later attended Harrow School of Art and the Royal Academy Schools in London. The sisters then set up a successful London studio, working as portrait painters and commercial artists.

In 1935 they undertook the joint project to paint murals for the Verandah Grill on Cunard-White Star Line’s Queen Mary ocean liner.

Zinkeisen was also a highly successful designer for film and the stage, working on productions for Noël Coward, Irving Berlin and James Whale. The influence of this work can be seen in the dramatic composition and costumes for this portrait. Janet and Anne went on to have successful careers as illustrators, best known for their artwork for Dodie Smith’s 1956 children’s novel The Hundred and One Dalmatians, while their cousin Julia Heseltine became a professional portrait painter.

In 1966, Zinkeisen and her daughters moved to Suffolk, close to her sister and niece. This family portrait is the first work by the artist to be acquired by a public collection in the county
that became her final home. It is intended to be displayed at Christchurch Mansion in Ipswich, where it will raise the profile of the collection.


The painting was created by Doris Zinkeisen (the artist) and has remained in the family. It was given to Doris's son Murray and then to Murray Johnstone's wife Elizabeth Johnstone on his death.

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