Emily Bowes was born in London, England to William and Hannah Bowes, both from old New England families. Her early years were divided between Merioneth, Exmouth and London, and in 1824 she commenced work as a governess to Revd John Hawkins in Berkshire, later moving to the home of Revd Sir Christopher John Musgrave, in Hove.
After these spells, Emily returned to London to stay with her parents in Clapton, North London. She attended the Plymouth Brethren assembly in Hackney, where she met her future husband, Philip Henry Gosse. They had known one another for several years before they married at Brook Street Chapel, Tottenham, in 1848. Emily was 42, her husband several years younger. Emily gave birth to their only child, Edmund in 1849.
Emily died in Islington after a painful and protracted battle with breast cancer, and was buried in Abney Park Cemetery, Stoke Newington. Her last words were reputed to be to her husband: "I shall walk with Him in white. Won't you take our lamb and walk with me?"
Emily Gosse was a landscape painter, having studied with John Sell Cotman. Her work includes the uncredited chromolithographs for her husband's book The Aquarium: an unveiling of the wonders of the deep sea (1854).
Gosse was a writer of Christian poetry and a prolific author and distributor of religious tracts, as for example in Narrative Tracts, co-written with her husband. Her most noted publication is Abraham And His Children (1855), a set of object lessons using Biblical characters to illustrate parenting principles.
- Lingard, Ann, Seaside Pleasures (Littoralis Press, 2003). ISBN 0-9544572-0-X
- Thwaite, Ann, Glimpses of the Wonderful: The Life of Philip Henry Gosse, 1810-1888 (London: Faber & Faber, 2002, ISBN 0-5711932-8)
- Shipton, Anna, Tell Jesus: recollections of Emily Gosse, New York, T.Y. Crowell, 1868
- Gosse, Edmund, Father and Son, Appendix I
- Bynum, William F., The Western Medical Tradition:1800 to 2000, pp.204-208, Cambridge University Press, 2006
- Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004
- "Gosse, Emily". Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1885–1900.
- Gates, Barbara T., Kindred Nature: Victorian & Edwardian Women Embrace The Living World, University of Chicago Press, 1998. ISBN 0-226-28443-3, ISBN 978-0-226-28443-9
- Gosse, Philip Henry, Aquarium, London: John Van Voorst, 2nd ed., 1856
- Boyd, R., Emily Gosse: A Life of Faith and Works : the Story of Her Life and Witness with Her Published Poems and Samples of Her Prose Writings, Olivet Books 2004
- Gosse, Emily & Gosse, PH, Narrative Tracts, Morgan & Scott, 1865