Marillier was a journalist, critic and art historian. He was the eldest child of Captain Charles Henry Marillier of the Cape Mounted Rifles and Margaret Marillier, the daughter of the military surgeon Alexander Braithwaite Morgan. In 1893 he married Katherine Isabella Pattison, the daughter of John Pattinson, a Newcastle public analyst. They had two daughters. Following her death in 1901, he married in 1906 Winifred Christabel Hopkins, the daughter of the artist Arthur Hopkins. She was the composer of 'The Rose and the Ring'. They had one son.
Marillier was educated at Christ's Hospital and Cambridge University. He worked in Charles Parsons' engineering works at Heaton, before becoming a journalist for the Pall Mall Gazette in 1893. He began contributing poetry and then became the journal's scientific correspondent. He also wrote the biographies to accompany the photogravure reproductions of 'Men and Women of the Century' (1896). Marillier then joined Cameron Swan in the Swan Electric Engraving Company. He was a partner in the metal works of W. A. S. Benson, who was a leading Arts and Crafts designer. He himself was an expert on tapestries, and acted as the Managing Director of Morris & Co. from 1905 to 1948. In 1947 he was appointed Technical adviser to the Ministry of Works.
Marillier was a member of the Shelley Society and a close friend and correspondent of Oscar Wilde. JW was in contact with him in 1896. In 1899 Marillier wrote Dante Gabriel Rossetti: An Illustrated Memorial of His Art and Life and the preface to the Early Works of Aubrey Beardsley printed by the Swan Company in 1899. In 1904, encouraged by the Birkenhead collector George Rae, he wrote The Liverpool School of Painters 1810-67.
Marillier, H. C., Dante Gabriel Rossetti: An Illustrated Memorial of His Art and Life, London, 1899; Nevinson, J. L., 'Henry Currie Marillier', 1971, Dictionary of National Biography Online, Oxford, 1997 (accessed 2004); http://marillierfamily (accessed 2004).