JULIA Canham had spent years searching across the country for a portrait of her ancestor Nony Croker.

And she was delighted when she finally tracked down a picture of the 19th Century model - on her own doorstep.

Nony was painted by the most fashionable portrait painter of her time, Sir Thomas Lawrence, and was kissed by the Prince Regent.

The daughter of a Brazilian ambassador, she had beenadopted by Julia's family after moving to England to live in London.

Julia, whose mother was Nony's niece, had searched in vain for a picture of Nony after hearing her family talk about her.

And she finally found her in a flea market in Brighton, paying £1.50 for the print.

Julia, 60, is so pleased with her find that she has decided to preserve the picture forever.

Brighton firm Jump The Gun arranged for the image to be printed on a T-shirt andjigsaw puzzle, and Julia is now considering having it on an umbrella as well.

Julia, of Avondale Road, Hove, said: "I thought it was a great shame that the painting had just been left in a flea market. She was such a beauty.

"I couldn't believe it, I'd searched everywhere and she was here in Brighton all the time.

"My husband went back and bought it for me."

She said: "I'm so excited that I've found her. It's like I've won the pools."

Converted for the new archive on 30 June 2000. Some images and formatting may have been lost in the conversion.