Lilly Martin Spencer (1822 - 1902) was born in England to French parents. The family immigrated to New York in 1830. Lilly began painting at an early age and was encouraged to do so by her parents who recognized her abilities. She spent many years living and working in Ohio. In her marriage she was the main breadwinner and her work achieved national recognition. She and her husband raised seven children and she was painting right up until her death in 1902 in Highland, New York.