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Dora Holzhandler was born in Paris in 1928 of émigré Jewish/Polish parents. In 1934 the family moved to London. She returned to Paris when she was 17 to study at the Sorbonne. Two years later in 1948 she became a student at the Anglo-French Art Centre in St John's Wood, London, where she met and married a fellow student, George Swinford, and settled in Hampstead. She has exhibited in London, Bath, Paris and New York. She died in West London in 2015.