Edwin John Ellis



Artist's Biography & Works For Sale


Edwin John Ellis was a prolific and successful marine painter in the late nineteenth century. He painted mainly coastal landscapes in a broad, impressionistic style. He exhibited over two hundred works in the major galleries in London and the Regions, enjoyed a good income and was well known in artistic circles at the time.

Today, the situation is very different and his work is often overlooked and little is recorded about his life. Edwin Ellis was born in 1842 (not 1841 as is generally recorded) into a lace making family in Nottingham. He started his working life as a draughtsman but after some study of art locally, he went on to earn his living as an artist, mainly in London. He married and had five children but was a restless man and moved the family home many times. He suffered periods of ill health which affected his painting and to supplement the family income his wife went on the stage, but this led to marital problems. His character showed a tendency to violence, drink and infidelity. He declared himself bankrupt, was involved in two divorce proceedings and died an alcoholic in poor circumstances at a relatively early age in 1895.

During his lifetime his paintings received considerable press comment and a major retrospective exhibition of his work was held at the Nottingham Art Gallery in 1893. After his death in London an obituary was published in the Art Journal recognising him as a painter of power and accomplishment.