Ella Naper was a British painter, jeweller and potter. Born in Charlton, London in 1886 she began her artistic education at the Camberwell School of Arts and Crafts between the years of 1904 and 1906. It was here that Naper first began to experiment with a range of media and techniques which expanded her artistic output to include works made in metal, wood and enamel. In 1910 the artist relocated to Looe, Cornwall where she lived and worked for a number of years with her husband, the architect and painter Charles Naper. The couple settled permanently in Trewoofe in Lamorna in 1913. Naper became a significant part of the cultural and artistic social scene in Lamorna where she spent much of her time producing decorative jewellery in a variety of materials. Her work was very successful, leading her jewellery to be sold at Liberty’s department store in London.
Her position in the Lamorna social scene led to the artist serving as the subject and sitter for a number of popular artists in the area. Her close friendship with the artist Laura Knight led to a significant collaboration wherein the artists combined their areas of expertise to produce a series of painted jewellery pieces. In 1915 these pieces, which also included decorative enamel plaques, were exhibited at the Fine Art Society in London to great acclaim. In 1924 Naper began to exhibit regularly at the Newlyn Art Gallery. In the following years she was commissioned to create a number of war memorials which remain to this day in Exeter Cathedral and St Buryan’s Church among others. In 1919 the artist aided in establishing the Lamnora Pottery studio which continued to produce popular stylised pottery pieces until 1935. Naper painted bright still life studies and created distinctive Art Nouveau jewellery and ceramics until her death in 1972.