Ellen Jeffreys

Ellen Penelope Jeffreys (12 February 1827 8 September 1904) was a New Zealand artist. She was born in Hummeripore, India on 12 February 1827, where her father was a judge.[1] She was one of six children of William Henry Valpy and Caroline Valpy (born Jeffreys), a pioneer family which arrived in Dunedin on board the Ajax in January 1849.[2]

Ellen married her cousin Henry Jeffreys in Dunedin in 1852, and the couple moved to Australia with their baby daughter, Caroline. However Caroline died in 1854 and Ellen returned to Dunedin in 1860, pregnant and bringing with her her infant son, Henry. The child, Edmond, was born six months after her return. Ellen moved to live in Oamaru while her sons grew up. Sadly, her elder son was hospitalised for mental instability and her younger son died of typhus, and Ellen later moved back to Dunedin to live with her sister Catherine Fulton.[3]

In Dunedin, Ellen joined her sisters Catherine and Arabella Valpy in their charitable work, including establishing the Band of Hope Coffee Rooms.

Her delicate water-colours of local Dunedin scenes are included in the collections of the Hocken Collections and the Otago Early Settlers Museum. They reflect the early influence of an Italian governess and drawing teacher, and of a year spent travelling in Europe with her family.[1]


  1. Entwisle, Rosemary. "Ellen Penelope Jeffreys". Dictionary of New Zealand Biography. Ministry for Culture and Heritage. Retrieved 23 April 2017.
  2. "Ajax list". www.ngaiopress.com. Retrieved 25 October 2015.
  3. Macdonald, Charlotte (ed.) (1991). The Book of New Zealand Women. Wellington, New Zealand: Bridget Williams Books. pp. 702–704. ISBN 0908912048.CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)

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