Miniature by Sarah Biffin, 19th-Century Artist Born With No Arms or Legs, Exceeds Estimates at Auction | Smart News


Sarah Biffen, Sarah Biffen,watercolor
Public domain by Wellcome Collection

According to the Sworders Auction House, a small study of feathers by renowned 19th-century miniatureist Sarah Biffen sold at auction for $ 12,023 (£ 9,000), well above the estimated price of $ 6,680 (£ 5,000). increase.

Bifin was born in 1784 in a poor family in Somerset, England, with no arms or legs, and built an artist’s career in a society that often expels both women and the disabled. “Her remarkable story as a female artist with disabilities in the early 19th century is one of patience and resilience,” said Essaka Joshua, a literary and disability scholar at the University of Notre Dame in July. I am writing to the non-profit Art UK.

A miniature painting fringed with gold leaf on a mountain of feathers with an elegant ink inscription

Sarah Biffen, Feather research, 1812, recently sold at auction for £ 9,000.

Courtesy of Sworders Auctioneers

The watercolors are signed in ink, dating back to 1812, just a few years after Biffin moved to London. “Painted by Miss Bifin on August 6, 1812.” A 4×5 inch piece of paper was discovered earlier this month in the collection of Peter Croft’s house, the late antique shop in Cambridgeshire. In March 1945, at the age of 20, Croft then used a wheelchair to amputate his legs under his knees after a flight training accident in Florida. As Sworders Chairman Guy Schooling says, he may have felt a “connection” with Biffin. Art newspaperof Annie show.

At the age of 10, Biffin learned to paint, paint, make dresses and sew with his mouth, teeth and shoulders. Telegraph.. She started her public career at the age of 13 under a contract with a circus led by traveling showman Emmanuel Dukes. Biffin played all over England, where she demonstrated her painting skills. The Dukes family touted her as “the wonder without limbs” or “the eighth wonder.” Telegraph. A 19th-century flyer promoting her skills, sold as part of a recent watercolor painting, describes Biffin as a miniature painter with “great power.” The pamphlet adds, “I write well, draw landscapes, draw miniatures, and do more amazing things, mostly by mouth.” At the show, Bifin sold three guineas of the original miniature watercolors. This is the profit Dukes put in his pocket, as graphic arts curator and librarian Julie L. Melby wrote to Princeton University in 2011.

Her skills in miniature painting impressed Earl of Morton George Douglas and provided sponsorship to Bifin. With that money, Bifin was able to stop touring and set up a studio in Strand, London. She studied at the Royal Academy of Arts, drawing a prominent committee of George III, Prince Albert, George IV, and the Duchess of Kent, completing the portrait of Queen Victoria in 1848.

Biffin married William Steven Wright in 1824, but divorced within a year. After her sponsor Earl died in 1827, she suffered financial difficulties near the end of her life and died in 1850 at the age of 66.In three of his novels-including a passing reference to Chapter 18 Little dorrit, Here he likened her to fame and often looked down on her appearance. Among the many literary figures who knew Bifin, the wealthy Welsh diary author Hester Thrale Piozzi helped to positively capture Bifin’s talent, says Joshua of Art UK.

Flyer promoting Miss Bifin, a miniature painter

19th century flyers promote Sarabiffen’s performance

Courtesy of Sworders Auctioneers

Other works by Bifin have been overpriced in recent years. In 2019, the self-portrait, which is estimated to sell for $ 1,603 (£ 1,200) to $ 2,405 (£ 1,800) at Sotheby’s, was sold at Sotheby’s for $ 183,726 (£ 137,500), Laura Chesters reported. Antique Trade Official Bulletin At the time. Another watercolor of brightly colored feathers by Bifin sold at Sotheby’s this summer for $ 87,495 (£ 65,520), surpassing the initial estimated price of $ 8,012 (£ 6,000).

Art historian Emma Rutherford, who writes about the sale of 2019 Sotheby’s at Philip Mold Gallery, commented on the power of Bifin’s 1821 self-portrait. Surrounded by rich and colorful fabrics, the artist is dressed in stately black with white lace trim and portrays himself as ready to work on the easel.

“Odds were piled up for her at birth, but here she presents her own image,” Rutherford wrote. “Here, she is considered an artist first and foremost, surrounded by her trading tools, including a brush pushed into her sleeves ready for paint.”



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