PACKARD, Ellen 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 in May 1867. Ellen trained at the Slade School of Fine Art in London and in 1916, Sylvia, as she was known, took over the Art Department at the Royal School for Officers' Daughters in Bath, Somerset. 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 on 26-28 November 1907 they held a private exhibition in the Watercolour Room, Art Gallery, High Street, Ipswich of some 37 oil paintings and 19 watercolours & drawings plus 38 by Kathleen Temple, these two artists were great friends and traveled to Italy and France together in the early 1900s on painting ventures. In 1911 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, in 1916 an etching 'Bramford', and from 15 Richmond Place, Bath in 1927, an etching 'Bath' but in 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 with Rosalind Ord, 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 by 1945 when the war finished, Miss Packard was too old to be interested in starting up the business again and sold her share of the partnership 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