PACKARD, Sylvia

1881 - 1962

Ellen Sylvia Packard, was born at Grove House, Bramford, Ipswich on 26 January 1881, twin daughter of Sir Edward Packard [q.v.] and his wife Ellen née Turner (4 February 1847-21 April 1927), who married at Ipswich on 23 May 1867. Sylvia, as she was known, studied at the Ipswich School of Science and Art, where she won several prizes and then trained at the Slade School of Fine Art in London. In 1901, 'a visitor' at Burford, 53 Fonnereau Road, Ipswich the home of Thomas and Emily Temple, the parents of Kathleen Emily Temple later Temple-Bird [q.v.] with whom, in October 1904 and again on 26-28 November 1907, held private exhibitions in the Watercolour Room, Art Gallery, High Street, Ipswich when some 37 oil paintings and 19 watercolours & drawings plus 38 by Kathleen Temple, these two artists were great friends and travelled together on painting ventures to Italy and France in the early 1900s. In 1911 Sylvia was living at the family home at The Grove, Bramford. A landscape painter and a member at the Ipswich Art Club 1903-1939, exhibiting in 1900, 'A Summer Evening' which was quickly purchased and in 1916 exhibited an etching 'Bramford'. In 1916, she took over the Art Department at the Royal School for Officers' Daughters in Bath, Somerset, where she was a Member of the Bath Society of Artists, and in 1927 exhibited at Ipswich from 15 Richmond Place, Bath, an etching 'Bath'. By 1932 she was again exhibiting from Bramford, four paintings 'Somerset Trees', 'On Board the Ranchi', 'Stockholm' and another, and the following year again from 15 Richmond Place, Bath, an oil 'The Dead Thrush' and two watercolours 'Chiliean Wild Flowers' and 'Loch Garten' and in 1935 from 27 Richmond Place, Bath, a watercolour 'Corneilla, Pyrenees'. She also exhibited at the International Society; New English Art Club and the Society of Women Painters between 1909 and 1928, from London in 1909, Godalming, Surrey 1910, Bath 1916 and from Bramford in 1920. On her retirement from the school, Sylvia, together with Rosalind Ord (26 August 1901-11 February 1997), founded a firm of tile manufacturers, Packard & Ord, which later became Marlborough Tiles. Sylvia Packard and Rosalind Ord, found that their mutual interest in painting ceramic tiles and was commercial enough to provide them with a living and on 13 April 1936 the Packard and Ord partnership was officially registered and the business relocated from Bath to Barnfield, Marlborough, Wiltshire. They initially specialised in commissions and giftware, with much work coming via word of mouth, and customers ranging from Royalty to Public Houses. Queen Mary was a regular customer and they even supplied tiles to Fortnum and Mason. Their hand painted work was hallmarked 'PO' (Packard & Ord) on the front of the tile and examples can still be found today in the V & A museum, private collections and on walls across the world. They continued to work on commissions until the 1939-1945 war forced them to stop in 1940 and on 31 December 1945, Miss Packard was too old to be interested in starting up the business again, the partnership was dissolved and Sylvia sold her share to Hugh Robb. In 1939, Sylvia was a tile artist living at Parsonage Farm, Hungerford, Berkshire and as Ellen Sylvia Packard, she was of 'Swarthmore', Marsham Lane, Gerrards Cross, Buckinghamshire when she died at Mount Vernon Hospital, Northwood, Middlesex on 24 August 1962, aged 81, she was unmarried. She was variously known as Ellen Sylvia, Sylvia and E. S. Packard. (Susan Rasey, ‘Sylvia Packard and the tile mural at the Royal School, Bath’, 'Glazed Expressions', (1997) 35, pp2-3)




Works by This Artist