Sarah Austin, née Taylor, was the youngest child of John Taylor, a yarn maker and hymn writer, and her education was overseen by her mother Susanna. She learned Latin, French, German and Italian. Sarah grew up to be considered a remarkably attractive woman and married John Austin, a lawyer and legal philosopher, in 1819. John Stuart Mill and Jeremy Bentham were among their intellectual circle in London. Sarah travelled widely in Germany, and her translations of works from the German were a considerable source of family income. The couple's only child Lucie (later Lady Duff-Gordon) also became an author and a translator of German works. The family history was recorded in Three Generations of English Women (1888), by Sarah Taylor's granddaughter Janet Ross, née Duff-Gordon.