Letter: The ICA and Picasso's doodle

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JACK HUGHES was misinformed about the Picasso at the ICA ('Cries & Whispers', 27 March). The real story is charming. J D Bernal never owned a house in Stepney but for some time had a small flat in Bloomsbury, near the then site of Birkbeck College, where he worked. It was there that Picasso visited him. As they were talking, Picasso was tempted by the sight of a plain white wall, took a crayon out of his pocket and doodled the figure of the king. Later in the conversation, Picasso, glancing at the wall again, said, 'He looks lonely', and drew the queen to keep the king company.

When he left the flat, Bernal decided to give the drawing to the ICA. It was detached from the wall and moved to the hall of the ICA. It was there that many years later one of my grandsons saw it and surprised me by saying, 'I've just seen a portrait of you by Picasso]'

Margaret Gardiner

London NW3