FURTHER IMAGES TO FOLLOW SHORTLY
A SCENE IN ARUNDEL PARK WITH DEER
Signed & l.r. 1949, titled to label on backboard
Oil on canvas
43 x 61cm
Ralph Ellis was born in Arundel, the son of a local taxidermist. He began his career at 14 as an apprentice to a furniture draughtsman and designer, but decided against this path and instead turned to painting. He earned a living as a house-painter and, in the evenings, attended classes in drawing and painting. In 1913, Ellis opened a shop in Bognor (the hometown of his wife Gertrude) which sold home decorating materials and artists supplies, as well as his own paintings.
Ellis served in the Great War with the Royal Sussex Regiment and the Queen's Royal West Surrey Regiment. His nascent abilities as an artist led to him being tasked with completing tactical sketches. He was injured in 1917 and discharged back to England, where he enrolled at the Slade School of Fine Art. Ellis returned to Arundel in 1920 and soon established his reputation locally as a portraitist and landscape artist and as a pub-sign painter. The latter practice came about through the commission of Major Guy Constable, a former Mayor of Arundel, who engaged Ellis' services on behalf of the brewers Henty & Constable. So successful was the project that Ellis painted over 800 signs by the end of his career, with more than 250 for Henty & Constable alone.
From 1951 onwards Ellis painted almost exclusively landscape views, which tended to depict the surrounding countryside near his home in Arundel (as in the case of the present work). Today the largest collection of his work can be found in a permanent display at the Arundel Museum.