(see also critical essay by Hugh Adams)


Sarah Tisdall was born in the town of Totnes in the province of Devon England, almost 80 years ago. Her education took place in the 1930's during the time of the famous experimental school in Dartington College in Dartington, where the philosopher Bertrand Russell was very much involved. One can find lots of references of that very interesting experiment in education in Russell’s autobiography. Sarah’s parents were also involved in this revolutionary educational project.

Mary Gwendolyn Shelley, Sarah's mother was one of the first women who earned a doctorate in English literature at the prestigious University of Oxford; his father Daniel Neylan, of Irish descent, also by those same years earned his doctorate at Oxford in the area of Classics, i.e. Greek and Latin. It was at that University where Sarah’s parents first met and subsequently married. Mary Neylan as a teacher in Dartington School had as her pupil the now famous artist Lucian Freud. Mary was also an excellent violinist and painter. During WWII, Sarah’s father due to his linguistic studies was called to cooperate alongside Alan Turin in the secret operations for decoding the Nazi machine "enigma", which was finally decrypted and of that mode contributed to shorten the duration of the war.

The writer C.S. Lewis, author of the Chronicles of Narnia, among other famous books, them now carried on to the screen with tremendous commercial success, was Sarah’s godfather and was at the same time Sarah’s mother’s tutor in Oxford. As an infant Sarah suffered the horrors of the bombing of London, the “blitz”, during WWII when she lived there close to Trafalgar square with her parents. At the age of sixteen, Sarah joined the Wimbledon College of Art Intermediate in Arts and Crafts, Painting and Ceramics. Shortly after finishing that she went to Bruges Belgium as an assistant of the stained glass Belgian artist Michel Martens. On her return to London she enrolled at the prestigious Slade School of Arts where she earned a degree equivalent to a Master of the Visual Arts. Shortly after finishing the Slade Sarah got married and conceived three children, two of them twins.

During her life as a mother and housewife Sarah entered into a sort of "artistic hibernation" from which she aroused almost twenty years later by a divorce. She began traveling the world and reconnected with her art and from then onwards hasn’t ceased creating.

Sarah has exhibited her work extensively in the United Kingdom and has painted murals in numerous hospitals, public buildings and private mansions long and wide of the United Kingdom at the same time that she worked as a teacher of Visual Arts and photography, activities that she continued practicing until her arrival to Mexico City more than eleven years ago.

Already in Mexico she participated in several of the activities organized by the World Conference of mural painters. The transportable murals created in those activities were donated to the hosts of the event, one of them was Tlaxcala; at other times the hosts were schools in Mexico City.

In two consecutive occasions, Sarah and Arturo, invited by progressive congress men at the Chamber of Deputies in Mexico City exhibited their works in the lobby. One of those occasions the Deputies had occupied the Chamber in protest for the privatization of the Mexican Oil industry.



1954-1956-Wimbledon College of Art Intermediate in Arts and Crafts, Painting and Ceramics.

1956-59-Slade School of Fine Art, University College London. Painting and Design.

1960 Worked in Belgium as an apprentice to Michel Martens, the stained glass artist.

1999 City and Guilds 7307 Pt 1 Teacher Training for Artists


Decorative Arts Practice

Trompe L'oeil, Murals and decorative painting in both public and private buildings. Designed and painted areas in 19 hospitals transforming the spaces. Designed and painted interiors in about 200 houses.



1957-Young Contemporaries London.

1958–84 Various group exhibitions in Hampshire including ˛ Seven Printmakers" a Southern Arts Touring Exhibition in 1973.

1977-Two person exhibition. Southampton University, 1980-81 Sloane St Gallery,

Royal Academy Business Gallery, Basilisk Gallery, London. And Limited Editions Liverpool.

1994-Bermondsey Artists Group, Café Gallery, Southwark Park.

1995-Open Exhibition South London Gallery.

1995 &1996 Open studio exhibition.

1997-Windows. A collaborative two person installation at the Café Gallery, Southwark Park. London.

1998- "8x4" Bermondsey Artist Group, Café Gallery, Southwark Park, London.

1998- Banner Design exhibition, South Bank, London.

1999-Tate Gallery of Modern Art, Bankside Browser, An Archive.

2004-The designers and artists copy right society bianual exhibition at the Mall galleries, London.

2005-Group Show at the Municipal Palace of Tlaxcala, Mexico.

-Group Mural painting as part of the World Conference of Public Art and Muralism at Tlaxcala Mexico.

-Touring Group show in Tlaxcala, Mexico.

-Group photographic show at UNAM-CEPE, Mexico

2006-Touring group show in Mexico, visiting five venues.


One person shows:

1980-Newbury Festival


1992-The Russell Cotes Museum, Bournemouth.

1993-Bracknell Gallery, South Hill Park, Bracknell, Berks

1993-The Tower Arts Centre, Winchester.

1994-The Quay Arts Centre, Isle of Wight.

1994-C.S.K. Gallery, Eton High St. Windsor.

1994-Fareham Public Library, Hampshire.

1999-Café Gallery, Southwark Park, London, SE 16.

2001-Stoke Newington Gallery, London.

2002- Spitalfields Gallery, London.

2003-Galleria de la MEGACEN and Galleria Internacional including conference and presentation. Santiago de Cuba, Cuba.


Critical Reviews and Press Coverage includes

1985-Southern TV-programme about hospital Art

1988-British Medical Journal.

1989-London Portrait Magazine

1991-Ideal Home

1992-Observer Room of my Own,

1992-Modern Painters,

1996-Sunday Telegraph

1997-Evening Standard

1997 Home Design Guide, Barty Phillips, p. 42.


Slides held-


Southern Arts

Women's slides Library

Victoria & Albert Museum, Kensington

Arts for Offices, 15 Dock St., E18 JL.


Catalogues and other published work

1988 The Decorative Artist, Yvonne Rees, p.33.

1988 Art at Work in Milton Keynes, Milton Keynes D.C.

1988 Hospital Arts, Malcomb Miles, Winchester School of Art.

1992 Catalogue Sarah Tisdall: Arranged Metaphors, Russell Cotes Museum.

1999 Cover and 10 Illustrations to Michael Rosen's You're Thinking About Doughnuts.

2004 Cover for From e to you, published by Barnowl Books

2005 -Bookcover for Hiding out published by Barnowl Books


Other Experience:

1976 Set up several artists in schools for Southern Arts.

Took part in a Schools Council research programme. Art and the Built Environment.

1973-1974 Articles for Southern Arts Magazine.

1979-81 Advisor to the Arts Council on performance art.

1981 Reviewed for the Festival Times Edinburgh.

1981-1982 Working in San Francisco.

1984 Articles for Artists Newsletter, Ceramic Review, and Viewpoint in education.


Awards and Prizes

1985 Grant from Southern Arts, Southampton General Hospital.

1986 Grant from Southern Arts and Southwest Arts for design and execution of costumes for ‘Garcia Lorca Production’ at Bristol University. Grant form SA, Radcliffe Infirmary; Poole General Hospital.

1988 Grant Southern Art Link, Battle Hospital Redding; Tourist Board Prize for small Museums, The Teddy Bear Museum, Stratford on Avon.

Grant from Milton Keynes Corporation. Milton Keynes General Hospital; Grant from SA Swindon Health Hydro. Friends at John Radcliffe Hospital. Friends of Gloucester Royal Hospital. Friends of the Eye Hospital, Southampton. Southern Arts design for Vedic Temple. Friends of the Royal Hampshire Hospital. Friends of the Southampton General Hospital.South Hampton City Outreach. Friends of Salisbury.


Private Commissions include work for:

Amanda Barrie.

Heather Chason

Gyles Brandreth.

Hamish McAlpine.

Adams-Vallejo Bristol.

Linda Saunders editor of Modern Painters.

Capital Bank, Amsterdam.

Kate Flatt, Choreographer

Sir John Bolton.

Katrina Hendrey & Richard Burnett, playwright and musician.

Robert Shepherd, picture restorer.

Caryn Faure Walker, Exhibition Organiser.

Chuck Winslow, Decorator, San Francisco California.