Gertrude des Clayes was born in Scotland in 1879. She studied at the Herkomer School at Bushey and at the Academie Julian, Paris. She lived in London from 1906-1912. While in England, she became a member of the National Portrait Society in 1911. In 1912 she moved to Montréal and was elected to the Royal Canadian Academy in 1914.
Des Clayes Returned to England in 1920 for several years.
She was primarily a portrait painter, although she also painted florals and birds on occasion.
Her protrait "The Fine Arts in Canada" was reproduced in Newton MacTavish in 1925. She won a medal from the Paris Salon in 1909. She returned to England in 1936.
Her work can be found at The National Gallery of Canada and The Montréal Museum of Fine Arts.
She died in London in 1949.