Sarah Van Niekerk was educated at Bedales School and studied at the Central School of Arts and Crafts under Gertrude Hermes and at the Slade under William Coldstream, Anthony Gross and Lynton Lamb. She took over from Gertrude Hermes the teaching of wood engraving at the RA schools and from 1978 taught at the City and Guilds Art School. Her work has been widely exhibited in Britain and at the RA between 1971 and 1986. Her style was greatly influenced by Hermes and the resulting designs bold and full of movement. She has illustrated a number of books for the Folio Society.