Christian Small was born in 1925 in Dundee, growing up in the shadow of two world wars. The legacies of those events impacted on Christian and her family. After graduating in chemistry at the University of St. Andrews, she applied for a job, but when the company discovered that she was a woman, she received a letter of rejection, stating "We regret your sex." Christian married, had five children, and, divorced. Like many women of her generation, she didn't seek employment again until her children had grown up. Although battling with great personal loss, Christian immersed herself in her art, creating a huge body of work - domestic objects, people, and, above all, the local landscape of the Pentland Hills, where she loved to walk. She sold very few of her paintings, often giving them away, storing many in her children's old cot in the bedroom of her tiny cottage.