"The essays in Without Hands go beyond simple reputational resurrection. Touching on her biography, her art and the historical context in which to view Biffin as a woman of disability, collectively they offer a genuine advance in our knowledge, a corrective to the more sensationalist approaches and a deeper understanding of the challenges she faced."
Sarah Biffin was one of the most accomplished and entrepreneurial British artists at work during the nineteenth century. She was born into a farming family in Somerset in 1784, and her baptism records show that she was 'born without arms and legs'. Teaching herself to write and draw from a young age, Biffin rose to fame as an artist and established a professional career as a portrait painter. Throughout her long and succesful career, she travelled extensively, took commissions from royalty and recorded her own likeness through exquisitely detailed self-portraits. Her artworks - many proudly signed 'Without Hands' - are a testament to her talent.
Sarah Biffin's narrative and artworks have been largely overlooked by historians. Those who have attempted to illustrate her life have often perpetuated previously held misconceptions and Biffin's artistc reputation has suffered as a result. This publication is the result of meticulous primary research and is the first of its kind to present Biffin's artistic achievements and tell her story.
Alison Lapper MBE Exhibition advisor
Alison Lapper MBE is an artist, television presenter, speaker and Gig-Arts Charity patron. As a well-known public fi gure, she regularly gives talks about her life.
Emma Rutherford Curator
Emma Rutherford is an art historian and leading specialist in the fi eld of portrait miniatures. She has been a consultant for Philip Mould & Company for the past fi fteen years and is widely published on her specialist area.
Ellie Smith Curator
Ellie Smith is a researcher currently specialising in British art. She has published on subjects within the fi eld of British art history and has been a researcher at Philip Mould & Company for the past three years.
Essaka Joshua Exhibition consultant
Essaka Joshua currently specialises in Disability Studies and is engaged in a book project on disability in British Romantic theatre. She has published three monographs and numerous articles and chapters on Romantic and Victorian literature and is currently a professor of English Literature at the University of Notre Dame, USA.
Elle Shushan Contributor
Elle Shushan is an author, lecturer and specialist dealer in the fi eld of portrait miniatures. She has published numerous articles on portrait miniatures, in addition to contributing essays for museum publications