RAPHAEL, Sarah Natasha

1960 - 2001

Sarah Raphael

Born at the Old Mill House, East Bergholt, Suffolk on 10 August 1960, only daughter and second of the three children of Frederic Michael Raphael (b. 1931), author & screenwriter, and his wife, Sylvia Betty (‘Beetle’), née Glatt. She studied at Bedales High School 1969-1977 and at the age of thirteen met artist and polymath Michael Ayrton (1921-1975) who told her 'if you can draw your own hand you can draw anything' a counsel that she took to heart. After Bedale's studied at Camberwell School of Art graduating with first-class honours degree in 1981. Raphael had her first solo show at the Christopher Hull Gallery in 1986, her second at Agnew's in 1992 proved that she was a young artist of note beginning to realise her potential. The major paintings in this show were of dark, lush landscapes and groups of figures, stylized 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 paintings at this show. 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 predominantly 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 her third solo show at Agnew's 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, in providing illustrations for his book 'The Hidden I' (1990), a reworking of the classical myth of Gyges, also contributed the colour illustrations to his book 'Of Gods and Men' (1992). Commissioned by the National Portait 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 Malborough in November 2000, entitled ‘Small objects’, was her last. Raphael died suddenly, from pneumonia fatally complicated by septicaemia, at King's College Hospital, London,on 10 January 2001.




Works by This Painter