Sophia Mildred Atkinson was born in Newcastle and studied at the Newcastle School of Art and the Sir Hubert von Herkomer School near London. However, she was destined to travel and spent much of her life exploring the globe. Around 1900, she moved to Corfu, where she published a book, and then later visited India, Denmark, Dresden, California and Canada. In 1949, she settled in British Columbia, where she received many plaudits for her work. She returned to the UK in 1968 and made Edinburgh her final home.