Erin was born in London in 1957 and educated at St. Paul's Girls' School, London. Her mother Moyra is a painter who encouraged her interest in art with frequent trips to galleries and a generous supply of art materials of all kinds. Her father, Roger Bannister the athlete, is a great outdoors man, whose enthusiasm for orienteering in the Sussex countryside gave her an early taste for connecting with nature.
Erin and her scientist husband Alain Townsend have lived in Oxford since 1982 and there raised their five children, now aged 32 -15. The city and its surrounding landscape have been at the core of her work. Although she paints a great deal outdoors, her new studio on the outskirts of Oxford is the most spacious yet, better enabling her to prepare for a solo show in 2015.
Erin trained at the Ruskin, Oxford, and then won a scholarship to the Royal Academy Schools, where she studied under Peter Greenham and was awarded two David Murray landscape prizes in 1976 and 1979. She first showed at the Thackeray Gallery, London in 1981. Since then she has exhibited widely in both mixed exhibitions in London (RA, National Portrait Gallery, New English Art Club, Burlington Fine Art) and in Oxford.
Erin has had solo exhibitions in London with Sally Hunter Fine Art in 1993 and 2007, and again in 2013 at the Medici Gallery, Cork Street, London.
She has also had residencies and exhibitions at Garsington Opera in 2005 and 2010, and at Lucy Properties, Oxford where she made a series of paintings of Jericho and Port Meadow. She was an artist in residence at The Story Museum, Oxford during 2011-12, participating in their 'Other Worlds' exhibition in 2012, showing works inspired by views from the building.
Her work features in the Oxford collections of St John’s College, Oxford University Press, Oxford High School, The Radcliffe Infirmary, Vincent's Club Oxford University, as well as Paintings in Hospitals and the Bridgeman Art Library. She has paintings in many private collections in the UK, France, Switzerland, USA, Australia and South America.