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Woman's emotional reunion with family painting 63 years later

Margaret Livingston grew up in Glasgow but lost contact with family after she was placed in care.

Reporting by Anne Smith.

A woman who lost contact with her brother has come face-to-face with a painting of them as children for the very first time.

Margaret Livingston grew up in Glasgow in the 1950s. Her mother worked long hours at the local steamie, leaving Margaret and her older brother Alan to fend for themselves.

The pair became the subject of Joan Eardley's famous 1955 painting Brother and Sister which sees Alan standing with a protective arm around his younger sister.

Today, Margaret saw herself in that painting for the very first time.

Margaret was taken into care shortly after the painting was finished in 1955, losing contact with her mother and brother. She spent time in two children's homes before being fostered by a family in Kilmarnock.

At the age of 15 she moved to London, where she lived and worked until her retirement in 2010.

Painting: Margaret and her brother grew up in Glasgow.
Painting: Margaret and her brother grew up in Glasgow.

For Margaret, Brother and Sister is a hugely important link to her lost past.

Speaking of herself in the painting she said: "I liked life. I'm a five-year-old. 

"I was running around at school.

"My brother would pick me up from school, take me home.

"And my mother would come in from work.

"I suppose I had quite a good life but obviously my mum wanted me out of there."

Margaret first heard about the painting when - with the help of the Salvation Army - she met her mother and brother in 1985. She had last seen them in Glasgow at the age of 13. Both have now sadly passed away.

It was Margaret's eldest daughter Suzanne who discovered that Brother and Sister had been exhibited at a gallery in London, on loan from Aberdeen Art Gallery & Museums.

Although born in Sussex, Joan Eardley is one of Scotland's best-loved painters. 

She studied at Glasgow School of Art and spent most of her career working between Glasgow and the coastal village of Catterline, which sits to the south of Aberdeen.

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