Eileen Gray was born on 9 August 1878 into an aristocratic family near Enniscorthy, a market town in south-eastern Ireland. Gray was the youngest of five children. Her parents, Eveleen Pounden Gray and James Maclaren Gray, were of Scottish–Irish descent. Gray’s father, James, was a painter who encouraged his daughter’s artistic interests. He took his daughter on painting tours of Italy and Switzerland which encouraged her independent spirit. Gray spent most of her childhood living in the family’s homes in Ireland or South Kensington in London.