Born in Dartford, Kent, Dorothea Sharp travelled widely throughout her life, and spent many years studying in Paris where she was influenced by the work of the French impressionists.
In later years Sharp became strongly associated with St Ives in the 1920s, visiting in the summers and immersing herself in the subject matter she became renowned for, joyful images of children, often at the beach. Her training and practice as a plein air painter and her absorption of the impressionists’ use of colour and light brought freshness and spontaneity to all of her artwork.
In 1928 Sharp was elected an honorary member of the St Ives Society of Artists, and in the late 1930s she settled in the colony for several years. Deeply immersed in artistic life there, she showed with such well known artists as Laura Knight, Alfred Munnings and Stanhope Forbes. For several years she managed Lanham Galleries in St Ives, which showcased the work of Newlyn and St Ives School painters. However, in the mid 1940s Sharp returned permanently to her Blomfield Road studio in London, where she remained until her death.