Biography: Elizabeth Fearne Bonsall was born on September 12, 1861, in Fernwood, Delaware County, Pennsylvania, one of three daughters of Amos Bonsall and Anna Wagner Bonsall.
She began to work as an artist before any formal training. Between 1885 and 1897, she won awards from, among others, the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts.
In 1894, she entered the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (where she subsequently taught) as a scholarship student; she studied under Thomas Eakins. In 1897, she joined with Howard Pyle's class at Drexel Institute. She took further training in Paris at the Académie Colarossi and under Gustave-Claude-Etienne Courtois and Raphaël Collin.
A member of the Plastic Club, she won recognition in 1898 when her work appeared in the fall exhbition there, along with other former Pyle students Elizabeth Shippen Green, Jessie Willcox Smith, Charlotte Harding, Violet Oakley, and Angela De Cora. One of her posters drew special attention the next year. She also exhibited at the summer show at the Worcester Art Museum in 1901. She continued to exhibit throughout her career, especially in her home city of Philadelphia, where she lived at 3430 Walnut Street
Bonsall was especially known for her paintings of animals in books and magazines. Perhaps her best known illustrations were for Mabel Humphrey's The Book of the Cat (1903), a collection of stories of the adventures of cats and kittens. The Book News Monthly wondered at the time if she might be a Rosa Bonheur in the making. In 1904, she provided full-page colored illustrations for The Book of the Dog by Alice Calhoun Haines. Her prints from both books were sold in Life magazine, The Bookseller, Newsdealer and Stationer. In 1927, she illustrated The Pied Piper of Hamlin, a Children's Story.
Bonall wa a supporter of women's right to vote. Her papers are held at the Smithsonian Institution.