Where to begin?
Have you ever watched “Who Do You Think You Are” on BBC One?
I watched the first series a couple of years ago now and I LOVED it. I found it really fascinating to hear about people’s ancestors, and loved the journey they went on.
So I started to trace my family tree. It is bloody addictive and many nights I would still be trawling through the census till after midnight. My Dad’s side was quite straight forward, but my mum’s side is way more complicated, but it was my mum’s side that I was particularly fascinated by. She hasn’t really any memorabilia from her family, the odd photograph of her as girl but that’s about it. She had been told that her Grandfather ( who she never met) was an artist, and that it was rumoured that his Father was an artist and had exhibited at the Royal Academy.
I sent for my Nanna’s birth certificate and tried to trace back.
I am so excited to say that I found my Great, Great grandfather.
He was called Edwin Ellis (1842-1895). On the census it says that he was an Artist/Painter in oil. My husband “Googled” him, and we found some more information about him.
He was a marine and landscape painter. He was born in Nottingham to Thomas (a lace manufacturer) and Anne, and worked for a brief period in a lace factory.
He studied art under Henry Dawson.
I contacted the Royal Academy library and a lovely lady there has given me loads of information about his paintings, which galleries house collections of his work, and the societies he was a member of. He is listed in the dictionary of Victorian painters, British marine painters and also the dictionary of Sea painters.
He was an elected member of the Society of British Artists in 1875.
The BBC have a new site called ‘Your Paintings’ and some of his work is listed there.
I have found out that Manchester city art gallery have one of his paintings, so I am going to take my mum so she can have a look at it. I also found out today that the V and A have one of his watercolours in the prints and drawings study room.
I am giddy beyond belief. I am humbled, and I am very probably rambling.
How cool is that?