Ellis’ birth family was well off, and she married Captain Frederic Rowan in 1873. Her husband was interested in botany and he encouraged her in her painting of wild flowers.
Ellis was an eccentric and determined woman, who travelled throughout Australia and the United States (using the excuse that the winters in her Victorian home were too cold). She was apparently socially adept with a store of interesting anecdotes about her trips. Her book A flower hunter in Queensland and New Zealand contained many of these.
She also travelled in New Guinea where she was often the only white woman in the areas in which she travelled. In 1920 she held the largest solo exhibition of paintings seen in Australia at the time, exhibiting 1000 of her works in Sydney.
Comments welcome. I’m very happy to be corrected on anything above.
I’d be very interested in any information or stories about Ellis which contribute to our thoughts on women and leadership.
References and further reading
Picture from National Library of Australia
National Library of Australia. Treasures from the National Library – The flower and bird paintings of Ellis Rowan. http://www.nla.gov.au/collect/treasures/ellis-rowan.html.