The Duchess of Cambridge visits Evelina London for National Portrait Gallery creative arts workshop

Posted on Tuesday 28th January 2020
HRH The Duchess of Cambridge with an Evelina London patient

Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cambridge meeting three-year-old Gracie

Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cambridge visited Evelina London Children’s Hospital, to meet children, young people and their families, taking part in a creative arts workshop led by the National Portrait Gallery as part of their Hospitals Programme.

The Duchess, who is Patron of both the National Portrait Gallery and Evelina London, joined children and young people as they took part in art activities inspired by the Gallery’s portrait of actor Ben Whishaw. The Gallery have been running their Hospital Programme with Evelina London for 15 years.

During the workshop children created their own decorated stage set with a self-portrait puppet and cast of characters.

Taking part was nine-year-old Anna-Victoria Amoafa-Sennie and her six-year-old sister Andrea. Anna-Victoria also presented The Duchess with a posy when she arrived at the hospital.

HRH The Duchess of Cambridge being greeted by Anna-Victoria, an Evelina London patient.Anna-Victoria said: “It was very exciting and very surprising because we’d seen her on the TV, but we’d never seen her in real life!”

Anna-Victoria and Andrea’s mother Irene, from Redbridge, Essex, said: “It was so lovely to see Anna-Victoria meeting The Duchess. She was so happy and excited! It was wonderful and something that she’ll never ever forget.”

The Hospital Programme supports health, wellbeing and happiness through arts programming inspired by portraits and stories from the Gallery’s Collection.

Marian Ridley, Director of Evelina London said: “We are extremely proud to host the National Portrait Gallery’s creative arts workshop and delighted that we were joined by Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cambridge to see the excellent work that they do.

“Art is an invaluable therapy for children and young people while they are in hospital. It helps to develop their creativity and gives them something to enjoy, while reducing any anxieties they may be feeling.

HRH The Duchess of Cambridge with an Evelina London patient who is creating artwork.“It is a great pleasure to have The Duchess with us to see our young artists letting their imaginations run wild and we are thoroughly grateful to our partners at the Gallery for everything that they do.”

The workshop was inspired by the Gallery’s activity book, Playful Portraits, created by Quinton Winter, with support from Evelina London. This free resource encourages play, making, reading, learning, writing and creativity. Young people can use it on their own, with their families, whilst on the ward and at home. Playful Portraits features a range of sitters from the Gallery’s Collection including girls’ education activist, Malala Yousafzai; chemist and crystallographer Dorothy Hodgkin; Paralympian David Weir; the Bronte Sisters, and physician Harold Moody.

HRH The Duchess of Cambridge in Beach ward with an Evelina London patient and their mother.The Duchess joined in with groups of children on the atrium, as well as visiting Beach Ward, where young people awaiting surgery were able to also take part.

Dr Nicholas Cullinan, Director, National Portrait Gallery, London said: “It is an honour to share with our Patron, The Duchess of Cambridge, the vital work we do at Evelina London and other children’s hospitals in the capital.

“We are immensely proud of our Hospital Programme, which demonstrates the positive impact art and creativity can have on health and wellbeing, and enables us to share our Collection with those who may not have had the opportunity to experience it previously. We are grateful to Delancey and DIL Trust UK for their generous support, which enables the programme to take place.”

The Duchess has been a Patron of the National Portrait Gallery since 2012. Her Royal Highness became Patron of Evelina London in 2018.