The daughter of a naval and military family, Elizabeth Coxen was employed as a governess before marrying John Gould in 1829.
In order to produce his first book, Birds from the Himalaya Mountains, Gould encouraged Elizabeth to learn the new printing method of lithography. Between 1830 and 1831, Elizabeth worked from her husband's sketches, drawing the birds onto large slabs of limestone. Her inexperience is reflected in the rather stiff 18th century manner of these early illustrations. Elizabeth developed her lithographic technique further with the assistance of Edward Lear and her work was much admired.
She travelled to Australia with John between 1838 and 1840. A year after their Australian tour, Elizabeth died of puerperal fever, having given birth for the eighth time.
During 12 years of marriage Elizabeth had produced more than 600 lithographic plates, had raised their six surviving children, and circumnavigated the world. Together the Goulds formed an extraordinary team, their shared love of natural history and complementary skills forming the basis for a highly successful partnership.