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Lot 532: Miss Sarah Biffin (1784-1850) 'MISS ELLISON NEE

Est: £700 GBP - £1,000 GBP
SwordersSeptember 22, 2009Stansted Mountfitchet, United Kingdom

Item Overview


Miss Sarah Biffin (1784-1850) 'MISS ELLISON NEE JUNE PRIESTLY DIED AT ASHTON-U-LYNE SEPT 30 1849 AGED 56', watercolour, inscribed verso, with sitter's name and 'Painted by Miss Biffin without hands, 1819', 7.4cm x 5.8cm Sarah Biffin was born in Quantoxhead nr. Bridgwater, without hands, arms or feet. She stood only 37 inches tall. She showed an early aptitude for art and taught herself to paint using her mouth to hold the brush. She entered into a written agreement with a Mr Dukes to tour the country, exhibited as a freak and genius. For this she was paid £5 per year and her keep. The public paid 1/- or 6d to see her and she painted miniatures at three guineas each, although she received no extra payment for this. After her tuition she received patronage from George III, George IV, William IV, Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. In 1824 she married a Mr Wright, who deserted her taking what money she had. By 1846 she was in failing health and very reduced circumstances. A number of notable figures, including the Queen Dowager and the Duchess of Kent, raised a subscription for her, allowing her to live in reasonable comfort. She died in Liverpool on 2nd October, 1850

Artist or Maker

Auction Details

The Autumn Country House Sale

September 22, 2009, 09:30 AM GMT

Cambridge Road, Stansted Mountfitchet, ESX, CM24 8GE, UK