Born in London in 1862 into a wealthy and prominent family (her father, John Dunn-Gardener was a barrister and Member of Parliament), Violet Emma Dunn-Gardener would never marry but devote her life to painting. She went to Paris around 1880 to study art and while there took lessons from the Swiss artist Luigi Chialiva who had established a teaching atelier in the city. Chialiva was a genre painter and proved to be a huge influence on the impressionable young Englishwoman. Although not confirmed, it can be assumed that she remained in Paris as her early English exhibits gave her address as that of the forwarding agents Styles & Co. and not her own English address. She was certainly living in France in 1929 when she had her one and only exhibit at the Paris Salon of that year. Violet Dunn-Gardner painted landscapes and figure subjects. She exhibited widely in England between the years 1891-1944 including exhibitions at the Royal Academy, Royal Institute of Oil Painters and the New English Art Club. She died on April 24, 1946 in Cambridge where she is buried.