Born in Cambridge, Lucy Raverat is the daughter of Mark Gillachrist Marlborough Pryor, Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge, and Sophie (née Raverat), daughter of the artists Jacques Raverat and his wife Gwen (née Darwin). Through her maternal grandmother she is a great-great-granddaughter of the naturalist Charles Darwin.
She was interested in art through her youth, and in the 1960s she attended Hornsey College of Art, where she completed a pre-diploma course. From there she travelled, spending time in India where she met her future husband, before moving to Lancaster. There she returned to painting, taking it up full-time after her children started attending school. In the 1990s she moved to France.