Sarah Biffen was a Victorian Artist who Dickens included amongst the characters in Nicholas Nickleby, Little Dorrit and Martian Chuzzlewit. Sarah was born in the Somerset village of East Quantoxhead in 1784. She was a remarkable person who overcame enormous obstacles to become an artist. She was born without arms and only vestigial legs, so as an adult she was only 37 inches tall!
By the age of twelve she had learnt to read and use her mouth to hold a pen to write. She had also learnt to embroider using her teeth to work the needle.
By the age of 15 she was part of a traveling fair and it is said that the owner of the sideshow in which she appeared Emmanuel Dukes taught her to paint. This was to enhance her as an attraction that people would pay to see at work.
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