Edith Anne Œnone Somerville was born on Corfu, where her father, an army officer, was stationed. A year later, he retired to County Cork, Ireland, where Edith grew up, first at Drishane House, Skibbereen and then Castletownsend. Among her greatest interests were riding and painting. She received her primary education at home, and then at Alexandra College, Dublin. She studied art in Paris and at the Royal Westminster School of Art in London. In 1887, she met her cousin Violet Florence Martin, whose pseudonym was Martin Ross, and they became lifelong companions and literary partners as "Somerville and Ross." Their first book, An Irish Cousin, appeared in 1889. By the time of Violet's death in 1915, they had produced 14 books together, including novels, short stories, and travelogues. Edith continued to publish as "Somerville and Ross" and continued fox hunting. In 1903, she become Master of the West Carbery Pack of Foxhounds, the first woman to hold such a position. She was also active in the suffragist movement. Her paintings were exhibited in Dublin and in London between 1920 and 1938, and she also became an illustrator of children's picture books and sporting picture books.