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Ellen Sharples

(1769-1849), Artist

Artist associated with 4 portraits
Ellen Sharples was a painter who specialised in portraits and miniatures. After having been a student of painter James Sharples and subsequently marrying him in 1787, the couple emigrated to the United States. Living in Washington DC, the Sharples established a successful portraiture practice, with James painting the portraits of American leaders and Ellen copying them on commission. Ellen Sharples also produced original portraits in pastel and watercolour and miniatures on ivory.

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George Washington, by Ellen Sharples, after  James Sharples - NPG 2903

George Washington

by Ellen Sharples, after James Sharples
pastel, 1796-1797
NPG 2903

Joseph Priestley, by Ellen Sharples, probably after  James Sharples - NPG 175

Joseph Priestley

by Ellen Sharples, probably after James Sharples
pastel, circa 1797
NPG 175

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Alison Bevan

01 November 2019, 17:24

After James's death, Ellen returned to Britain and settled in Bristol, where she was instrumental in founding the Bristol Academy of Fine Arts and in the creation of the city's first Art Gallery and Art School, now the Royal West of England Academy (RWA). Among those Ellen persuaded to help fund the building of the Gallery were HRH Prince Albert and Isambard Kingdom Brunel, and it was her own bequest in 1849 that led to her dream of a Gallery being realised: it opened in 1858.

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