A PHOTOCOPY may be all she has left of this priceless work now, but the memory of being sketched by Pablo Picasso will never leave artist Dorothy Boyesen.

The 79-year-old from Lytchett Matravers, who is putting on an exhibition of her own work this week, has told of the magical moment following the birth of her first son Alex in Cannes in 1958.

She and her artist husband Hjalmar, who worked with Picasso during the 1950s, visited their friend and his partner Jacqueline Roque almost as soon as their baby was born.

“I think my husband was so thrilled to have a son that had to be the first thing he did – showing him to Picasso,” said Dorothy.

“Picasso did his bit to make us feel we had done something extraordinary – as if we’d done something nobody else had ever done.”

“We were talking, it was strange really, Jacqueline had given me the most lovely shawl for the baby and suddenly everybody stopped.

“We all went absolutely quiet. It was like a spell. All of a sudden we sat still.

“I didn’t know he was sketching me until it was time to go. We were saying our goodbyes and he gave me the sketch. I was very excited.”

She added: “It’s a great privilege of course that he took the time to do that, but at the time I was so excited about my baby I almost left the sketch behind. That’s what motherhood does for you.”

Dorothy remembers Picasso, who became friends with her husband when he was an American soldier during the liberation of Paris, as “gentle, affectionate and very caring.”

But while she treasures the memories, she was forced to give up the sketch many years ago “In true artist fashion it had to be sold to pay the rent – that is the artist’s life,” added Dorothy.

The music teacher and mother of six children, including famed sculptor Sebastian Boyesen, took up painting a decade ago.

Her “first and last” exhibition, Exploring the Past is at the Peacock Gallery, Upton Country Park from March 11 to 15.