Olive Allen Biller, an artist and illustrator, was born in Ormskirk, Lancashire on 17 October 1879 and died on 15 October 1957 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. She published illustrations under her maiden name Olive Allen and her married name Olive Biller.
She briefly attended art school in Liverpool, then the Lambeth School of Art, London, and finally, from 1900, the Slade School of Art, London. She studied most notably with Henry Tonks of whom she made a satirical drawing (now in the collection of the Strang, University College London). From 1901, as Olive Allen, she was an illustrator of magazines, children's books and Christmas annuals, chiefly for T. C. & E. C. Jack of London. Some titles were translated into German and enjoyed wide circulation.
After marrying John Biller in 1912, she emigrated to Canada. Her commercial work virtually ceased at this point, but she continued to illustrate her life and surroundings in letters and sketchbooks. After her husband’s death in World War I, Biller settled with her two children on James Island in 1919. In 1927 she moved to Victoria, where she was an active member of the Island Arts and Crafts Society founded by Josephine Crease.
Relocating to Vancouver in 1934, she studied oil painting with Jock Macdonald, Fred Varley and life drawing with Tonshek Ustinov (1903–90) at the British Columbia College of Art. This short-lived art school was formed in 1933 by artists disgruntled with the Vancouver School of Decorative and Applied Arts, forerunner of the Vancouver School of Art. Biller’s later work consists primarily of landscapes and genre scenes in an expressionist style, akin to but more lyrical than her contemporary Emily Carr. Her early illustrations owe much to Arthur Rackham and his circle. Biller exhibited at the Vancouver Art Gallery and other Canadian venues. A substantial corpus of her work was donated by Jill Simms, the artist's daughter, to the University of British Columbia. Other examples of her paintings and drawings are in the BC Archives, the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria, University College London and private collections in Canada and the UK.