Barbara Gilligan was born in London in 1913. She studied at the Slade and at the East Anglian School of Art under Cedric Morris. She married the artist David Carr and a portrait of them painted by Cedric Morris is in the Tate Gallery Collection. She exhibited in London, Paris and elsewhere abroad. In 1948 an exhibition of her paintings was held at the Leicester Galleries, London. She lived at Starston Hall, Harleston, Norfolk. Avid collectors of  contemporary art, David and Barbara amassed a fine collection of paintings by Tapies, Appel, Mary Potter, Lowry, Prunella Clough, Colquhoun, MacBryde, Hillier, Vaughan and others, including a portrait by Lucian Freud of Cedric Morris, given to Barbara when she was a student.