Biography: The daughter of a doctor, native Wilmingtonian Ethel Pennewill Brown (Leach) enrolled in 1894 at the Clawson S. Hammitt School of Art in Wilmington (DE) in 1894, and at the Arts Students League (NYC) beginning in 1899. In 1901, she began taking illustration commissions primarily to earn money. From 1903 until 1910 she studied with Howard Pyle in Wilmington and Chadds Ford (PA). In 1907, she also began to paint portraits. She illustrated for Collier's, Leslie's, Ladies Home Companion, and Harper's Weekly, among other major national publications; her work also appeared in several books.
In 1910, at Pyle's request, Brown occupied his studio (with fellow student Olive Rush) when he left for Italy. Following Pyle's 1911 death there a year later, she turned to easel painting. Brown went to Paris in 1912, and lived at the American Art Students Club. Subsequently, she lived in an artists' colony, based at the Convent of Saint Joseph de Cluny at Senlis, with other women artists. She exhibited in 1913 at the Paris Salon; she was also accepted into the International Union of Beaux-Arts and Letters.
She returned to Wilmington in 1913, and also took painting trips to Mississippi with an aunt who later bequeathed her enough money to be financially independent.
In 1920, Brown established a summer art colony at Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, and built her own cottage and studio there. In 1928, she began the Annual Summer Art Exhibitions in the community and maintained leadership of the event for 31 years. The exhibitions included artists from Delaware, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and New York. In 1938, she was a founder of the Rehoboth Arts League. She exhibited her work nationally and had a
solo show at the Wilmington Society of the Fine Arts in 1952. Brown belonged to numerous arts organizations.
At age 44, Brown she married artist Will Leach. The couple traveled to Florida where she frequently painted tropical plants and to Gloucester (MA).
Brown was an active artist into her eighties and died on December 30, 1959.