Sometimes described as a Jerseywoman, Sarah Kilpack was actually born in Covent Garden, London, but spent long periods in Jersey where she had friends she could stay with. She painted coastal scenes, marines and landscapes, often views of the Channel Islands and Northern France, in oil.
She was the daughter of Thomas and Georgiana Kilpack and in her childhood she lived above the family business, a tobacconist in King Street, London, at the heart of the bustling fruit, flower and vegetable market. She was quite shy but showed a great aptitude for the piano and for drawing at an early age. The family came to rely increasingly on the fees from her concerts, which also enabled her to travel. Eventually she gave up music to concentrate exclusively on her painting.
She probably first went to the Channel Islands in her twenties and became a frequent visitor, staying with her friends Jurat and Mrs C G Renouf, at Linden Villa, St Saviour. She produced a significant quantity of small oils and watercolours, mostly of rocky coastal scenes painted in a dramatic, vibrant style. By the 1880s she was earning around £500 a year from her painting, a considerable sum, even though she never charged more than six guineas for a picture. She exhibited in London at the Society of Women Artists, showing 119 works from 1867-1909. She also exhibited at the British Institution.
Her paintings often depict diminutive figures placed within stormy coastal landscapes. It is easy to see how the Channel Islands’s varied and often dramatic coastlines would have appealed to her.
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