Eleanor Sperrey was born on 7 January 1862 in Geelong, Victoria, Australia to Eleanor (née Maunder) and John Sperrey. The following year, her family moved to Dunedin, New Zealand, where her father, who had been a timber merchant, was engaged in the sub-treasurer's office as a clerk.
In the early 1880s she studied art in Rome under Guiseppe Ferrari and won the Prix de Rome; a gold medal.
She drew illustrations for Thomas Bracken’s “Musings in Maori Land”.
On 19 September 1888 Eleanor Kate Sperrey and Gilbert Mair were married in Wellington. 
Mrs Mair, wife of Captain Gilbert Mair, one of the interpretors to the House of Representatives, died at Blenheim on Saturday morning after a painful illness. The remains will be taken to Wellington for internment. The deceased was the only surviving daughter of the late Mr. John Sperry, Property Tax Commissioner.
By the early death of Mrs. Gilbert Mair (Kate Sperry) New Zealand has lost one of her noted artists. Deceased painted numerous portraits of celebrated colonists including the late Sir. William Fitzherbert, Mr. James McAndrew of Dunedin (which was subscribed for by the people of Dunedin) Sir George Grey, Sir Harry Atkinson, the Hon. John Ballance, and various other prominent personages. Her body was taken from Blenheim to Wellington for burial and her funeral was largely attended.
Date: 23 APR 1893
Place: Bolton Street Cemetery, Wellington
Note: plot 4602 (record no: 98433)
Gravestone - Here rests John SPERREY, born 25 November 1829, d. 17 September 1890, a. 61, also his only daughter, Eleanor Kate, wife of Gilbert MAIR, born 7 January 1862, d. 23 April 1893, a. 31.