Setchel, Sarah (DNB00)

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SETCHEL, SARAH (1803–1894), water-colour painter, daughter of John Frederick Setchel, a bookseller in King Street, Covent Garden, London, was born in 1803. After leaving school, she took up drawing with energy, but received no regular instruction beyond that which she derived from studying at the British Museum and the National Gallery, and from some lessons in miniature-painting from Louisa Sharpe [q. v.] Her first exhibited work, ‘Fanny,’ appeared at the Royal Academy in 1831, and she continued to exhibit there and at the Society of British Artists until 1840, when she sent to the latter exhibition ‘A Scene from Howitt's Rural Life of England.’ She was elected in 1841 a member of the New Society (now the Royal Institute) of Painters in Water-colours, and in the following year contributed to its exhibition ‘A Scene from “Smugglers and Poachers” in Crabbe's Tales of the Hall,’ a drawing of much power and pathos, representing a prison interior where a young man whose life is in jeopardy is visited by his betrothed. It became very popular, and was engraved in mezzotinto by Samuel Bellin as ‘The Momentous Question.’ Her works appeared but seldom in the exhibitions, and one other only became well known. This was ‘The Heart's Resolve,’ a subject from Crabbe's tale of ‘Jesse and Colin,’ exhibited in 1850, and engraved by Samuel Bellin as a companion plate to ‘The Momentous Question.’ She continued to exhibit domestic subjects until 1867, but her later works did not sustain her earlier reputation. Miss Setchel died at Sudbury, near Harrow, Middlesex, on 8 Jan. 1894, aged 80.

[Miss Clayton's English Female Artists, 1876, ii. 124–9; Times, 17 Jan. 1894; Athenæum, 1894, i. 90; Exhibition Catalogues of the Royal Academy, Society of British Artists, and New Society of Painters in Watercolours, 1831–1867.]

R. E. G.