Mr Ellis does not appear in Barefoot on the Cobbles in person but his shop is part of the Clovelly village streetscape. John Ellis was born in Peterborough in 1854 and began his working life as an apprentice to a printer and stationer. In his twenties he described himself as an artist but it seems that he could not make a living from this and later, he worked for a woollen drapery in the town. It is not known how he met his wife, Alice Jewell from Clovelly. It is likely that John joined other visiting artists who were attracted by Clovelly’s picturesque street. He and Alice settled in Clovelly after their marriage in 1900 and they had one son, Paul. Although he preferred to be out in the street painting, John Ellis ran a High Street shop, selling artists’ materials and photography equipment, amongst more general items. His son later took over the shop and became a well-known photographer, being responsible for many of the scenes depicted in north Devon postcards.
‘ ‘Ellis’ shop is just down there on the left,’ Daisy said, more confident now. No one could be angry at her politely giving directions to trippers. ‘Mr Ellis is a bit of an artist himself, I am sure he would have what you need.’ ’
Barefoot on the Cobbles will be published on 17 November 2018. More information about the novel can be found here. Copies will be available at various events in the weeks following the launch or can be pre-ordered from Blue Poppy Publishing or the author.