As Heard on The Daily Gardener Podcast:
Ellis Rowan, 1848-1922 by Kate Collins
This book came out in 1989, and it’s part of the Australian book series that featured its most outstanding artists.
My copy arrived last week, and it features incredible full-page color plates of Australian native flowers, birds, and insects.
Born in Melbourne, Ellis married Frederic Rowan in 1873. Ellis discovered painting after her botanist husband, Frederick, encouraged her to develop talent, and it was a passion that she pursued until her death.
Ellis’s life was full of adventure. She traveled and painted abroad. Three of her paintings were presented to Queen Victoria. My favorite stories about Ellis concern her wonderful friendship with the botanist and writer Alice Lounsberry, and they created three beautiful books about the flowers of North America.
During the First World War, Ellis was living in New Guinea. At one point, she painted 45 of the 62 known species of birds of paradise.
As a woman living during the mid-1800s, Ellis followed the dress code of her era. Wherever she went, whether on an expedition or at home, Ellis was always impeccably dressed. Ellis’s daily attire included heavy ankle-length dresses, high collars with full sleeves, crinolines, corsets, whalebone stays, and a hat.
Just before Ellis died, the federal parliament in Australia debated whether to buy 1,000 of Ellis' paintings. The Australian artist and novelist Norman Lindsay called Ellis' work vulgar - believing wildflowers were unworthy subjects for art. But ultimately, Ellis' paintings were purchased for $5,000, and they are now a treasured part of Australia's National Library.
This book is 52 pages of the beautiful work of Ellis Rowan.
You can get a copy of Ellis Rowan, 1848-1922 by Kate Collins and support the show using the Amazon Link in today's Show Notes for around $9
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