Born in Wuxi, Jiangsu, she lost her father when she was very young. With the support of her mother Fang began studying calligraphy and painting. In her teens, the young artist was sent to the U.K. to pursue her studies. She studied under great artists like Chang Dai-chien and attended both the University of Hong Kong and Oxford University in the U.K.
Fang continued to work throughout her 80s and, in 1996, received an honorary doctorate from the University of Hong Kong. In 2005, Fang and her family donated more than 40 of her works to the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco.
Fang knew Fang Shin-hau (方心誥; 1913 – 1950), the son of well-known anti-Japanese general Fang Cheng-wu, when she was studying in the UK and married him in 1938. She bored him eight children. Fang escaped with her family to Guilin, Tianjin and Shanghai in China due to war and resettled in Hong Kong in 1948. She was widowed in 1950. Her eight children were:
- John Fang — lawyer
- Anson Chan — first local to have served as the Chief Secretary of colonial Hong Kong; She also acted as Governor of Hong Kong and previously served as Chief Secretary for Administration as well as an elected Legislative Councillor of Hong Kong
- Lu Fang Ningsheng — President of a travel company and honorary president of Hong Kong–Shanghai Cultural Exchange Association
- Philip Fang — Hong Kong simultaneous interpretation specialist; once served as chief of the UN Chinese interpretation section (deceased)
- Fang Kwai-sang — banker
- Fang Lam-sang — travel company manager
- Frank Fang — medical doctor
- David Fang — Orthopaedist; chairman of Hong Kong Academy of Medicine
- "Chinese painter Fang Zhaoling dies". CBC News. 21 February 2006. Retrieved 28 August 2010.