Backstory of Bridget — A Real Girl

How One Painting Became a Focal Point in My Life

Joel R. Dennstedt
3 min readDec 13, 2022


All Images from Public Domains

The year is 1966.

I am 16 years old. Soon to be 17.

My family goes to visit my grandmother in Hollister, California.

I become instantly enamored with the girl hanging on her wall.

The subject of the portrait: Bridget — by John Strevens.

I stare constantly at this painting, like Christopher Reeve in Somewhere In Time. Yeah, I’m almost that obsessed.


To me, the portrait of little Bridget represents both the strength and sweetness of the feminine archetype. And maybe she’s a little sad.

My grandmother, having noted my utter captivation, willed the portrait to me when she died.

Bridget became the centerpiece of my every household.

When I re-married in 1982 and moved to Anchorage, Alaska, Bridget became the subject of equal adoration by my new wife.

In 1999, she went into storage. Bridget, not my wife. We had already split by then.

But I had always been convinced that Bridget is a real person.

When computers came to rule the 21st Century, I went online to investigate.

I found that I was right.

Bridget was the daughter of an artist, John Strevens, who became popular in the 60’s-70’s for a series of portraits known as: The Little Princesses.

Bridget as the Model for her Artist Father — John Strevens
A Little Artist in her own right

Turns out that Bridget matured into an artist of her own.

She became an illustrator for children’s books in France.



Joel R. Dennstedt

World Traveler/Writer/Poet/Book Author/Editor Top writer in Photography, Travel