Born in Nottingham, England, Edwin Ellis studied under Henry Dawson, the father of noted sea painter Montague Dawson. The artist originally started his working life in a Nottingham lace factory, but soon moved to London where he spent 23 years of his working career painting primarily marine views and landscapes.
In London, Ellis exhibited at both the Royal Academy and Suffolk Street Galleries. His paintings are strong and free in style, showing a distinct impressionist influence reminiscent of his French contemporaries, Monet and Renoir.
Ellis experienced great success in his lifetime staging 124 exhibitions in London alone. Usually described as a landscape artist, he in fact painted a very large number of excellent marine pictures throughout his career. Of his 25 exhibits at the royal academy, over half were sea or coastal scenes.