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Ellis Rowan: A Life in Pictures 

Ellis Rowan: A Life in Pictures 
1 May 2020

The extraordinary Ellis Rowan was no mere 'lady flower painter'. To great effect, she cast herself in the role of 'intrepid lady explorer' and became as well known for her lively accounts of flower-hunting exploits as for her paintings. 

Over the course of 50 years, she journeyed to many wild and inhospitable places in Australia and beyond, searching for her beloved wildflowers and wildlife subjects, always impeccably dressed in long skirt, high-button boots and wide-brimmed hat. At the age of 70, she ventured alone into the jungles of New Guinea, the first Australian woman to do so.

Join National Library of Australia curators Dr Grace Blakeley-Carroll and Matthew Jones in this new series of videos as they discuss the curatorial process and the extensive and breath-taking work of Australian artist and illustrator, Ellis Rowan.  

From the Preservation Lab: The Curatorial Process

Follow Library curators Dr Grace Blakeley-Carroll and Matthew Jones behind-the-scenes for a rare glimpse into the Library’s Preservation Labs. In this video, Dr Blakeley-Carroll discusses the curatorial process that goes into the selection of items for, and the development of, an exhibition.

From the Preservation Lab: The Art of Ellis Rowan

Library curators Dr Grace Blakeley-Carroll and Matthew Jones discuss the breath-taking work of Australian artist and illustrator, Ellis Rowan. While Ellis Rowan is most well known for her botanical illustrations, in this video Dr Blakeley-Carroll highlights Rowan’s lesser known but equally beautiful illustrations of the spectacular birds of paradise.

Discover the collection online

A large portion of the Ellis Rowan collection has been digitised and is available online through the NLA Catalogue or Trove. Discover the collection now.

Ellis Rowan: A Life in Pictures

The National Library of Australia has published a new book telling the story of Ellis Rowan through the wonderful paintings that form part of her collection of 970 works held by the National Library of Australia. 

Hers was a solitary, dedicated life, but one coloured by enthusiasm, energy and optimism. She felt different and so became different, flouting the conventions of her time. Her curiosity about people, places and nature, and her ability to make friends of strangers, allowed adventures to fall into her lap. 

Ellis Rowan: A Life in Pictures is available now through the National Library of Australia Bookshop.  

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