Colchester 1821 – 1886 Exeter
Edward Ladell’s obituary in The Essex County Standard considered him ‘the foremost man of his day in fruit painting.’ He was entirely self-taught, having initially followed the profession of his father, Christmas Ladell, as a coach builder. A native of Colchester, he married his second wife Ellen Maria Levitt in 1878, he moved to Torquay and later to Exeter where he took a studio at 20 Queen’s Street. He exhibited at the Royal Academy between 1856 and 1886, and also at the British Institution, the Royal Society of British Artists, Suffolk Street, and local West County venues.
Ladell specialised in still lives composed of fruit and flowers placed on ornamental boxes, in antique glass and china vases or with bird’s nests. His technique achieved an astonishing degree of realism. His biographer Frank Lewis writes: ‘he paints with the fidelity of an old Dutchman and with the brilliancy of colour all of his own. A dead duck lying upon a board, as represented by Mr. Ladell, is a duck indeed...maybe it’s a branch from a raspberry bush laid carefully down, and while the fruit is round and luscious, over-ripe or scarcely ripe, the leaves whether fresh or fading, are represented with a verisimilitude that is marvellous.’
The work of Edward Ladell is represented in the Bristol City Art Gallery, the Colchester and Essex Museum, the Royal Albert Memorial Museum in Essex, the Harrogate City Art Gallery, the Reading City Art Gallery and the Mappin Art Gallery, Sheffield.