Sarah Raphael studied at Bedales School and Camberwell School of Art. Described by Charles Saumarez Smith as "one of the finest figurative artists of the generation", she began her career as a portraitist, before turning to landscape with dramatic and potent views of the Australian interior. In the final years of her short life she began to experiment with abstraction, and her Strip Paintings of 1996 – 98 were created using a grid of strip forms. This new direction in her art is presaged in this portrait, evident in the structured planes of the vivid yellow jumper of her sitter, and the muted grey tones of the background. Her work is held in the National Portrait Gallery, London, the Metropolitan Museum of Fine Art, New York, and the Victoria and Albert Museum, London.