She was born at Dunston Park in Bedfordshire, one of the five daughters of landowner Benjamin Waddington, and later lived at "Tŷ Uchaf", Llanover, Monmouthshire. Her mother was a great niece of Mary Delany. Frances was a talented watercolour painter. Several of her pictures are owned by Newport City Council. In July 1817 she married Baron Bunsen, who later became German ambassador to Britain. After his death in 1860, she published a memoir of his life: A Memoir of Baron Bunsen, Drawn Chiefly from Family Papers, by His Widow, Frances, Baroness Bunsen (1868).