Council of Heads of Australasian Herbaria
Watercolorist Ellen Chappell was born in Nottingham, England and came to Australia as a child. Her brother was the sculptor Victor Wager. She studied art at Perth Technical School under J. W. R. Linton and A. B. Webb. She exhibited watercolour scenes with the WA Society of Arts in 1922 and 1923 under the name Ellen Wager. She married John Chappell and exhibited thereafter as Ellen Chappell. She exhibited with the WAWPAAS in 1939 when the critic Charles Hamilton described her work as, "Flower paintings are not numerous, but M. Kimber and E. Chappell have some good ones. . . . E. Chappell's Kangaroo Paws are her best being strongly and cleanly painted though rather over-detailed in style."
She was a member of the Perth Society of Artists and exhibited regularly from 1950 into the 1960s. She also had a number of solo exhibitions. Her oeuvre was Western Australian wildflowers and landscapes, which were described as "strong and vigorous". She exhibited "Banksias" and "Sunflowers" in the Art Competition at AGWA in 1950. She was a member of the Perth Studio Club - a group of women artists who met weekly and shared a studio in the Turf Club Building in Howard Street.
She was art mistress at St Hilda's School for five years. She also was a member and President of the WA Women's Society of Fine Arts and Crafts in 1951. She did not enjoy good health and was not always able to work. A painting of hers was used on a 1962 souvenir calendar for the British Empire and Commonwealth Games held in Perth. Her work was also included in an exhibition Wildflowers in Art shown at the Art Gallery of Western Australia in 1991 to co-inside with an International Protea Conference.
Claude Hotchin Art Gallery, 1952, 1958 with Dorothy Hanton, 1963.
Boans Art Gallery
WA Societyof Arts 1922, 1923.
WAWPAAS 1939, 1945.
Studio Club exhibitions in a variety of venues, Perth, Fremantle, Bunbury, 1940s.
Art Competition AGWA 1950.
Perth Society of Artists 1950, 1953.
Western Australian Jubilee Exhibition of Paintings, which toured the country in 1951.
Festival of Perth 1956.
Wildflowers in Art AGWA 1991.
Collections: Holmes a Court Collection, Albany, Fremantle Town Councils, Maritime Museum, Parliament House and manyother country shire collections.
Source: pers.com. Dorothy Erickson (10/4/2013)
Gooding, Janda. Western Australian Art and Artists 1900-1950. Perth: AGWA, 1987, p. 68.
Spartalis, Arthur. A Survey of Western Australian Art from 1696. Perth: Arthur Spartalis Fine Art, 2008, pp.73,121.
West Australian Oct. 25 1945. p. 9.
WA Society of Arts exhibition catalogues.
AGWA artist’s file.
Portrait Photo: https://www.myheritage.com/names/ellen_chappell