Eileen Mayo was born in Norwich, Norfolk. She studied at the Slade School of Fine Art, London, Central School of Arts and Crafts, London and Chelsea Polytechnic, London; and also studied under Ferdinand Léger in Paris. For a time she worked as an artists’ model, working particularly for Laura Knight. She married Dr Richard Gainsborough who founded Art News & Reviews, and she designed the first issue when it appeared in 1949. In 1953 she travelled to Australia and then to New Zealand. She is best known for her animal prints, which displayed a careful observation and a lively eye for detail. She was created a Dame of the British Empire in the 1994 New Year’s Honours List.