Little is known about the artist who suffered from ill health throughout her life and used painting as a way to escape from the bleakness of daily life into a world of beauty and creativity. She was the daughter of Lt. Colonel J.P. Hollist (DL) and was brought up between the family houses at Lodsworth, Sussex, and 50 St. James's Square, London. In later life she often travelled around Europe recording in watercolour the flora and fauna that she encountered.
Mary Jennings, the initial owner of the present watercolours was the companion of the artist for the last twenty years of her life, having met her in the early 1920s when they were both involved in setting up the The Girl Guides. Hollist appears in the list of Council members in the original Girl Guides Royal Charter of 1922.