Lucy Sale-Barker, née Davies, was a daughter of Francis Henry Davies, registrar of the London Court of Chancery and his wife Lady Lucy Clementina Drummond Davies, a writer and sister of George Drummond, 5th Earl of Perth. In 1858, she married Lieutenant-Colonel James Villiers, a British army officer with whom she had at least one daughter. After Lt.-Col. Villiers died in India in 1862, she remarried in 1865 to John Sale-Barker, a lawyer. She began her literary career by contributing occasional articles to Dublin University Magazine and St. James's Magazine, some of which were published under her first married name, Lucy Villiers. In about 1872, she began to write books for children, and eventually published more than 40 volumes. Some of her stories were initially composed for her own children. She also edited Little Wide-Awake, a magazine for children, from its founding in 1874 until her death, and wrote the verses for Kate Greenaway's popular Birthday Book for Children in 1880.