The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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Edwin Ellis, 1841-1895

Nationality: English
Date of Birth: 1841
Place of Birth: Nottingham
Date of Death: 1895.04.19
Place of Death:


Edwin Ellis was a marine and landscape painter.


Following a brief period working in a lace factory, Ellis studied art under Henry Dawson. He went on to paint mainly coastal views of Yorkshire, Wales and Cornwall, works notable for their broad facture and rich colouring, and comparable to the work of Charles Napier Hemy.

Ellis exhibited in London at the Royal Academy, Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colours, Grosvenor Gallery, Dudley Gallery, Fine Art Society, Agnew and Sons Gallery and Arthur Tooth and Sons Gallery, as well as at the Royal Society of Artists in Birmingham, Glasgow Institute of the Fine Arts, Royal Scottish Academy, Royal Hibernian Academy, Walker Art Gallery in Liverpool and Manchester City Art Gallery. In 1885 he was elected a member of the Nottingham Society of Artists. In 1893 a comprehensive exhibition of his works was held at the Nottingham Museum.

Ellis was also elected a member of the Society of British Artists in 1875, a society which elected JW its President in 1886. Although acknowledging that JW had been treated indecently by the Society, Ellis was not among those stalwart supporters who resigned along with their leader in 1888. JW spoke rather disparagingly of Ellis in 1888, writing to Charles Deschamps that the works of Aubrey Hunt were 'far more artistically rare' than anything ever composed by Alfred East or Ellis (#07923). Ellis in turn described JW as 'a man who will sacrifice everything for an epigram or a smart speech' (#06069).


Bénézit, E., Dictionnaire des Peintres, Sculpteurs, Dessinateurs et Graveurs, 8 vols, Paris, 1956-61; Wood, Christopher, Dictionary of Victorian Painters, Woodbridge, 1971; Johnson, J., and Anna Greutzner, Dictionary of British Artists 1880-1940, Woodbridge, 1980.