Ella Grainger: A Brief Biographical Background
The Swedish-born artist and poet Ella Viola Brandelius Ström moved to London in 1907 and during the war years studied fine art at the Slade School. Later classes in ceramics and wood carving led to exhibitions of her rime-tiles in the mid-1920s. In 1926, she followed her lover, Iyemasa Tokugawa, from London to Sydney, where he had been appointed Japanese Consul-General.
Ella met Percy Grainger in 1926, aboard a ship travelling through the Pacific Ocean. They were married two years later, before a capacity audience of some 25,000 at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles. It was here that Grainger's wedding present, the manuscript of the chamber/orchestral work To a Nordic Princess, was premiered.
Ella's poetic interests are served in two volumes, namely The Pavement Artist and Other Poems (1939) and A Wayward Girl (1941). She frequently played the "tuneful percussion" at Grainger's concerts, and many of her compositions were arranged by her husband, including Love at First Sight (1944).
In 1972, after Percy's death, Ella married archivist Stewart Manville, who now lives at the Grainger residence in White Plains, New York.