Portrait of an Elderly Woman card

Portrait of an Elderly Woman

WAG 7477

Currently not on display


Biffin was born without arms or legs but painted miniatures and watercolours ‘with her shoulder assisted by her mouth.’ Her teacher, a Mr Duke, exhibited her at fairs working on her paintings. Her skills impressed the Earl of Morton which led to Royal patronage and a successful career. She received commissions for miniatures from George III, George IV, William IV and Queen Victoria. She moved to Liverpool in 1842 where she continued to work as an artist in Duke Street. The identity of the sitter in this portrait is unknown but the date suggests she was a local Liverpool woman. The minute details and tiny brush-strokes that can be seen testify to Biffin’s skill. Her pride in her work is indicated by the inscription she wrote under the portrait: ‘Painted by Miss Biffin without hand 1846.’