Born in Dartford, Kent, Dorothea Sharp studied art in London and Paris, despite parental disapproval. From 1940 to 1946, she lived in St Ives, Cornwall. The landscape and the quality of light in that part of Cornwall directly influenced her work. Dorothea Sharp, like Laura Knight, is renowned for her painting of open-air scenes. In Sharp’s case it is often focused around playing children. The bold impressionistic style is characteristic of the artist who often used the light of Cornwall in her paintings.
A Cornish Holiday is typical of her work in this period which includes, On the Beach, Girls on a Seashore (1940), and At the seaside. The work was purchased by the Russell-Cotes from the artist in 1936 for the modest sum of £30.