Born in Hartford, Conn. in 1881, she started her art training at Hartford Art School in 1889, she attended William Merritt Chase's Summer School in Tory Island and ended up at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. She studied With Edmund Tarbell and married Philip Hale in 1902, a faculty member at the school. Philip, 15 years her senior and a well known and established artist gave Lilian a lot of support. In 1908 she held her first solo show and sold out, even before it opened. Known for her composition, Lilian showed at the Grand Central Galleries in New York and was awarded a bronze medal in the Buenos Aires International Exhibition in 1910, a gold medal and medal of honor for drawing in the Panama-Pacific Exposition in 1915 and prizes from the National Academy of Design.
After her daughter was born in 1908, most of Lilian's work revolved around motherhood and the interors and garden of her home. In 1931 she was accepted as a National Academician it was also the same year that Philip died. Lilian never quite recovered artistically following his death, she continued to enjoyed work on portraits of her family. In 1955 she moved to Virginia to be close to her daughter and spent her summers in Rockport, Mass. She died unexpectedly in 1963.