Ethel Gabain was born in Le Harve, France; she studied at the Slade School of Fine Art, London and at the Central School of Arts and Crafts, where she met and married the artist John Copley. She was best known for her oil portraits, especially of actresses in character roles. Her lithographs were considered more successful than her etchings and drypoints.

Further reading:
Kenneth Guichard, British Etchers 1850 - 1940, Robin Garton, London, 1977
John Copley and Ethel Gabain, Garton & Cooke, London, 1985