Edwin John Ellis was born in 1848, the son of Dr Alexander John Ellis, a Scottish linguist and natural scientist. When in his late teens, Edwin Ellis met John Butler Yeats at Heatherley's art school and the two became good friends, sharing a studio. With John Trivett Nettleship and Sidney Hall the two formed 'The Brotherhood', an informal group of artists working under the influence of William Blake. Along with William Butler Yeats, John Butler Yeats' son, Ellis edited a three-volume edition of The works of William Blake, poetic, symbolic and critical, which was published in 1893. His association with W.B. Yeats also extended to their participation in the Rhymers' Club, with Ellis contributing four poems to The Book of the Rhymers' Club (1892) and six to The Second Book of the Rhymers' Club (1894). He also published several volumes of poetry, including Fate in Arcadia (1892) and Seen in Three Days (1893); the novel The Man of Seven Offers (1895); and the verse drama Sancan the Bard (1895), which served as partial inspiration for Yeats' The King's Threshold (1904). Books illustrated by Ellis include Shakespeare's sonnets, nursery rhymes compiled by his father, and his own works. Ellis died in 1916 at Seeheim, Germany, the birthplace of his wife.
From the guide to the Papers of Edwin John Ellis, 1890-1922, (Reading University: Special Collections Services)