Carlyle was born in Galt, Ontario,1864.
In 1867 Florence Carlyle's family moved to Woodstock, Ontario, where in later years her mother arranged art classes, inviting Paul Peel to teach. Peel encouraged Carlyle to continue her studies in France. Carlyle traveled there with Peel, and studied for six years with T. Robert-Fleury, Jules Lefebvre, Adolphe Bouguereau, Julius Rolshoven and Ulysses Delecluse. Carlyle returned to Canada in 1896 and established studios in London and Woodstock and also taught at Havergal College, Toronto. Carlyle was noted for her figure studies and landscapes.
In 1899 she moved to New York City where she opened a studio and enjoyed financial success. Carlyle traveled extensively, painting in Holland, Belgium, Spain, Italy, Venice, France, England and New England. In 1912 she moved to England and during the First World War she painted for Canadian War Records and she sold her paintings to benefit the Red Cross. Carlyle remained in England until the time of her death. A memorial exhibition and sale of her work was held at the Jenkins Art Galleries, Toronto, 1925. Her work is to be found in the Art Gallery of Ontario, the Ontario Parliament Buildings, and the National Gallery of Canada; the largest collection in North America is housed at Woodstock Art Gallery.
She was elected an Associate of the Royal Canadian Academy in 1897 and a member of the Ontario Society of Artists in 1900. In 1893 she won a silver medal at the Chicago World’s Fair, and in 1901 she received honorable mention at Buffalo.
Carlyle passed away in Crowborough, Sussex, England, 1923