Harriet Mary Ford was born in 1859 in Brockville, Ontario. She studied at the Central Ontario School of Art, Toronto, in 1881 followed by The St John’s Wood Art School in London and the Royal Academy.
She traveled widely in Europe, to Italy around 1892, Spain in 1907 and Venice in 1913-14. While in France she studied at the Académie Colarossi and in the studio of Luc Olivier Mercon and Joseph Blanc.
She spent a lot of her life moving, she lived in England for several years beginning in 1896, Toronto from 1894-1896, 1911-1917 and 1920-1921. She lived in Newlyn, Cornwall 1896-1899, Great Marlow, Buckinghamshire, England, around 1899-1911 as well as from 1918-1920 and 1922 until her death.
Between 1846-1916, Ford exhibited with the Royal Canadian Academy, and across Canada. She was a member of the Royal Canadian Academy, an sssociate from 1895-99, the Palette Club between 1894-99, and 1911, the Ontario Society of Artists from 1895-99 and again in 1911. She was a founding member of the Society of Mural Decorators and the Women’s International Art Club, London.
She returned to Toronto in 1920 and opened a studio on Huron Street. Ford showed her work at the Paris Salon, The Royal Hibernian Academy of Arts and the Royal Society of British Artists, London, the Art Association of Montreal, the Royal Canadian Academy, the Toronto Industrial Exhibition and the Palette Club.
Her work is owned by the National Gallery of Canada, the Art Gallery of Ontario, and the Art Gallery of Hamilton. She is known as a painter, muralist, and jeweler and also as a writer, critic and lecturer. With George Reid she edited the short-lived magazine "Tarot," in 1896, a publication devoted to the Arts and Crafts Movement.
She died in London, in 1939.