Hilda May Gordon had studied under Frank Brangwyn and Sir Hubert von Herkomer at the Bushy School of Art and joined Brangwyn on a painting trip to Italy in 1900.
Hilda May Gordon set off travelling for a few months in 1922 and ended up going on a trip around the world, which lasted six years. During this time she visited India, Kashmir, Tibet, Burma, Thailand, Indonesia, China and Japan and produced a large body of watercolour paintings - the product of her keen ability to render people and the atmosphere of exotic places in colourful compositions. She visited Southern Africa in the 1930s.
In his monograph on the artist Patrick Conner wrote:
“Always on the lookout for the extraordinary, the vivid, the un-English, she conjured up impressions of colour and movement, the spontaneous colour-sketches typical of one who refused to remain within the confines of any particular school or tradition.” (P. Conner, Hilda May Gordon (1874-1972), a colourist abroad, 1987, pp. 60-61).