Checkmate Books

Sarah Biffen

Portrait of a Lady by Sarah Biffen

More about Sarah Bifffen's life here and here.

More about Sarah Biffen in Pool of Life: The Story of Liverpool in Caricatures.

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From birth, Sarah Biffen had neither arms nor legs, yet she made a career as a painter by manipulating a paintbrush with her mouth. She lived out her last years in Liverpool, at 8 Duke Street. She is buried in St James's cemetary below the Anglican Cathedral, a stone's throw from William Huskisson.

A Self portraint of the remarkable mouth painter Sarah Biffen

The Duchess of Gloucester
a typical miniature by Sarah Biffen

Mouth Painting

She is far from the only example of a mouth painter. The British Partnership of Mouth and Foot Painting Artists - the MFPA - was set up in 1956 by painter Erich Stegmann and a small band of handicapped artists from eight European countries. Rather than a charity, MFPA is a a self-help association which aims to look after its artists' interests by helping them to sell their work, mainly in reproduced form on greetings cards, calendars, jigsaws and wrapping paper.

Here is a time-lapse film of an anonymous mouth painter at work:

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