RAPHAEL, Sarah Natasha

1960 - 2001

Sarah Raphael

Sarah Natasha Raphael was born at the Old Mill House, East Bergholt, Suffolk on 10 August 1960, only daughter and second of the three children of Chicago born Frederic Michael Raphael (born 14 August 1931), author & screenwriter, and his wife, Sylvia Betty (‘Beetle’), née Glatt (born 1928) who married at Willesden, London on 17 August 1955. Sarah studied at Bedales High School 1969-1977 and at the age of thirteen met artist and polymath Michael Ayrton (1921-1975) who told her that, 'if you can draw your own hand, you can draw anything', a counsel that she took to heart. After Bedales she studied at Camberwell School of Arts & Crafts graduating with first-class honours degree in 1981. Sarah Raphael was a young artist of note beginning to realise her potential and had her first solo show at the Christopher Hull Gallery, London in 1986, her second was at Agnew's in 1992, the major paintings in this show were of dark, lush landscapes and groups of figures, stylised and distorted to avoid simple representation including 'While Attempting to Escape', 'The Road to Damascus' and 'The Way of Lamentation' and the Metropolitan Museum in New York purchased two of her paintings. On 14 September 1985, Raphael married writer and publisher Nicholas Francis McDowell, their first child, Natasha, was born in 1986 and they had two further daughters, Anna (born 1990) and Rebecca (born 1996) before the marriage was dissolved in 1999. Raphael lived and worked in London, with a studio in Camberwell, but places she knew as a child in south-west France and the Greek island of Ios, figured in her work and after her marriage she also lived in Spain and Rome. In 1993 Raphael was awarded the Villiers David prize, a travelling scholarship and decided to spend the money on a trip to Australia and had her third solo show at Agnew & Sons Gallery in 1995, ‘Desert Landscapes’, depicting the fruits of this journey, with the large Australian paintings being purchased by major collectors and institutions including the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge. Collaborating with her father, providing illustrations for his book 'The Hidden I' (1990), a reworking of the classical myth of Gyges, also contributing the colour illustrations to his book 'Of Gods and Men' (1992). Commissioned by the National Portrait Gallery to paint the original journalists on 'The Guardian' newspaper's women's page, a large work featuring Posy Simmonds, Jill Tweedie, Polly Toynbee, Liz Forgan, and Mary Stott also painting for them, Chad Vara's portrait and, for the MCC, one of Sir Garfield Sobers. The one significant piece of sculpture Raphael made was commissioned for the opening of the Millennium Dome in 2000 which was purchased by the Victoria and Albert Museum. Her show at the Marlborough Gallery in 1998 entitled ‘Strip’ was to be her penultimate show, a print show at the Marlborough in November 2000, entitled ‘Small objects’, was her last. Sarah Natasha Raphael died suddenly, from pneumonia fatally complicated by septicaemia, at King's College Hospital, London on 10 January 2001.

Works by This Artist