Dorothea Sharp was born in Dartford in Kent in 1874 but it was not until the age of twenty-one that she began her artistic education in earnest. She first studied at the art school run by C. E. Johnson in Richmond, Surrey and later spent some time at the Regent Street Polytechnic. She soon moved to Paris where she was greatly influenced by the work of the Impressionists, which is evident in the spontaneous style and strong sense of colour and light that she is so well known for. Techniques, such as outlining figures with bright colours, were also adopted by Sharp after seeing the paintings of Matisse and van Gogh.
Sharp exhibited regularly throughout her career at many institutions including the Royal Academy. She was elected to the Royal Society of British Artists in 1907 and the Royal Institute of Oil Painters in 1922 and also was President for four years of the Society of Women Artists. She held her first one woman show at the Connell gallery in 1933.
Sharp was a landscape and still life painter but is best known for her pictures of children which are frequently shown on the beaches of Cornwall where she lived near St. Ives. Her works are now widely collected, with paintings in the municipal collections of Johannesburg, Auckland, Belfast and Manchester alone.