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Sarah Biffin. Watercolour by Sarah Biffin.

  • Biffin, Sarah, 1784-1850.
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Credit: Sarah Biffin. Watercolour by Sarah Biffin. Wellcome Collection. Public Domain Mark

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About this work


The sitter was of humble birth and her height never exceeded thirty seven inches. She painstakingly mastered the use of her mouth to paint, etc. to great effect. She was exhibited all over the country by a Mr Dukes for sixteen years until she was discovered by the Earl of Morton who had her instructed by the popular artist Mr Craig. She then managed to support herself through her art, was patronised by the Royal Family and received a medal from the Society of Artists in 1821. Upon her retirement due to overexertion to Liverpool she fell into poverty, with which she was aided by a subscription organised by Richard Rathbone (Dictionary of National Biography)

Physical description

1 painting : watercolour on unseen material (ivory or board) ; sight 9 x 7.5 cm


Miss Biffin. Born without arms or legs. This portrait (which is very accurate) was drawn and painted by herself & presented to Wm. Stevenson.


Wellcome Library no. 47336i

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