This portrait was taken in Henry’s home as the photographer was keen to bring across his sense of home ‘where he fits’ and the crossword framing motif comes from the crossword he was working on at the time with apt clues and answers. Henry Grainger had a happy childhood with his foster family and was one of a few former pupils chosen to attend a grammar school, which he did not enjoy. He went on to work as a youth employment officer, a job he loved. He and his wife Yvonne now live in Lancaster where he enjoys playing golf.

Foundling Portraits Project

In summer 2021, the Museum commissioned photographic portraits of five former Foundling Hospital pupils: Ruth Amberly, John Caldicott, Lydia Carmichael, Jocelyn Gamble and Henry Grainger. They represent the last generation of pupils who entered the care of the Hospital in the 1930s and 1940s. Reflecting their importance, and to parallel the calibre of the eighteenth-century artists who donated their works to help the children, five exceptional photographers undertook the commission. They were Jillian Edelstein, Mahtab Hussain, David Moore, Ingrid Pollard and Wolfgang Tillmans. A further double portrait of Sylvia Copestake and Pamela McMurtry, by Eileen Perrier, was added the following year.

This portrait, like the other five, is the result of a reflective, enriching and creative partnership, formed between artist and sitter. Each offers a glimpse of the remarkable spirit and vitality that continues to inspire young care-experienced people today.

About the artist

Jillian Edelstein began working as a press photographer in her country of birth, South Africa. Now London-based, she has exhibited widely, including the National Portrait Gallery and The Photographers’ Gallery, The Royal Academy. Her portraits have appeared in publications including The New Yorker, The New York Times Magazine, Vanity Fair, Vogue, and Time.