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Hampstead memories of artist Fred Ulhman’s daughter and ‘girl with the balloon’ as she turns 80

PUBLISHED: 13:51 12 July 2020

Fred Ulhman's Captivity drawing, featuring' the girl with the balloon' inspired by his then-newborn daughter Caroline. Picture: Compton family / Fred Ulhman

Fred Ulhman's Captivity drawing, featuring' the girl with the balloon' inspired by his then-newborn daughter Caroline. Picture: Compton family / Fred Ulhman

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Caroline Compton turned 80 on July 3, and to mark her milestone she told the Ham&High about the more than seven decades she spent in Hampstead, after being born to a Downshire Hill family in 1940.

Caroline’s father Fred Ulhman was an artist, and during the dark times of the Second World War, her birth inspired the figure of “the girl with the balloon” in a series of drawings produced while he, a German national, was interned on the Isle of Man and, appropriately, called Captivity.

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The now-octogenarian – told this newspaper: “The girl is the survivor. its about hope. When I was born on July 3 1940, my father had been removed to the Isle of Man before that.”

Caroline’s parents bought a home in Downshire Hill before she was born, and she lived in Hampstead right until 2013.

She added: “Hampstead was very left-wing in those days, now you’ll find more brokers and bankers!”

Caroline, who went to Burgess Hill School, told the Ham&High how she had “skated on the frozen ponds” in the late 1940s on the Heath, and how her parents’ Downshire Hill home had been bought when they fell in love with the area after visiting the famous artistic couple Lee Miller and Sir Roland Penrose, who also lived in that street.


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