Lady Sarah Crease

Lady Sarah Crease
1826 - 1922

courtesy of Royal BC Museum and Archives
Sarah Lindley was born in London, England, in 1826, daughter of a distinguished botanist.  She took lessons from portraitist Charles Fox in watercolour, pencil sketching, woodblock printing and copperplate engraving; from Sarah Ann Drake she learned botanical illustration, and later illustrated her father’s publications in pen and ink.

Sarah married Henry Crease, who moved to Vancouver Island where he became a barrister, and joined him there in 1860.  In 1862, the family moved to New Westminster after Henry was appointed attorney general of the mainland colony, returning to Victoria in 1868 and beginning to construct Pentrelew, an Italianate-style country house in Rockland. Henry was appointed a judge in 1870, and Sarah became Lady Crease in 1896 when he was knighted for his services.  As a leader in local society Sarah became immersed in charitable works, and was president of the Council of Women of Victoria and Vancouver.

Sarah’s art always played a prominent part in her life, and she passed on her sketching and painting skills to children Susan, Lindley, Josephine and Mary. A dozen of her watercolour sketches depicting Fort Victoria in 1860 were displayed the International Exhibition in London.  She recorded numerous sketches of landscapes on the mainland while accompanying her husband on his judicial circuits, although by the late 1870s her artistic activity had diminished due to failing eyesight.

In 1909 she became a charter member of the Island Arts and Crafts Society, becoming its patron, and in 1912 exhibited a collection of watercolours of Old Victoria.

Sarah Crease remained active in the community until 1919 when she broke a hip, and was restricted to corresponding with friends and family across the world.  She died in Victoria in 1922, leaving an impressive legacy of several hundred ink, pencil and watercolour works.  These, together with her voluminous diaries, were of considerable archival value.

Port Llewellyn Rocks
PDP01389 courtesy of Royal BC Museum and Archives

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