Sarah Cecilia Harrison, who went by Cecilia, was born in County Down in Northern Ireland and studied at the Slade School of Fine Art in London. In 1889 she moved to Dublin and established herself as one of Ireland's foremost portrait painters. She exhibited at the Royal Hibernian Academy and the Royal Academy in London, and was a member of the Ulster Academy of Arts. Harrison was an active member of the Irish Women's Suffrage movement and was the first woman elected to Dublin City Council. Although her formal political career was short, she continued to champion for the rights of women, the poor, and the unemployed, while maintaining her position as a leading portrait painter.