ASHTON, Julian Rossi (1851-1942)


ASHTON, Julian Rossi (1851-1942)
artist
was born at Addlestone, Surrey, England, on 27 January 1851. His father, Thomas Briggs Ashton, came of a well-to-do American family, and when studying art at Florence married Henrietta Rossi, daughter of Count Rossi. Proceeding to England the family moved to Penzance in Cornwall soon after Julian Ashton was born, and lived there until the father died some 12 years later. Ashton was brought to London and when 15 years of age was placed in the civil engineering branch of the Great Western Railway. The work was not congenial and Ashton began studying at the West London school of art. About 1870 he went to Paris to continue his studies; he had already contributed drawings to Cassell's Magazine, the Sunday at Home and other journals. He did not stay long in Paris but returned to London, did drawings for the illustrated journals, and in 1873 had a picture shown at the Royal Academy. He also exhibited there in 1876, 1877 and 1878. Hearing that a draughtsman was wanted for the Illustrated Australian News, Melbourne, he sent some drawings to David Syme (q.v.) who was then in London, and was engaged at a salary of £300 a year and his fare to Melbourne. He arrived there in June 1878, worked with the paper for three years, and was then for two years on the Australasian. While in Melbourne he did a little landscape painting and also a few portraits, including a head of Louis Buvelot (q.v.) and a half-length of Bishop Moorhouse (q.v.). In 1883 he decided to return to England, but after visiting Sydney and Brisbane he was offered a position as an illustrator to the Picturesque Atlas of Australasia. He was to receive a salary of £800 a year with the right to paint a few pictures for himself. He had never cared for Melbourne, but developed a great affection for Sydney, and after travelling all over Australia in connexion with the Atlas he settled there as an artist.
The progress of painting in New South Wales was slow. The Academy of Art had been founded in 1871, but for many years it was practically an amateur body. In 1880 the Art Society of New South Wales was founded and Ashton began to exhibit with it. He was elected its president in 1886, held the position for six years, and in 1892 became the salaried instructor of its art classes for four years. He then opened a teaching studio of his own, afterwards known as the Sydney Art School, which became a great influence. Much dissatisfaction with the powers of laymen in the Art Society led to the establishment of the Society of Artists in 1895, to which Ashton transferred. He was elected its chairman for the year 1897. In 1902 the society was amalgamated with the Art Society, which then became the Royal Art Society, but several leading men broke away and the Society of Artists was re-established in 1907 with Ashton as its president until 1921. As a teacher he had many distinguished students including Mahony (q.v.), Long, Gruner (q.v.), Hilder (q.v.) and Lambert (q.v.). About 1915 he began to have trouble with his eyesight and after 1920 practically gave up painting. The Julian Ashton Book was published in his honour in 1920, and in 1924 he was given the Society of Artists' medal for his services to art. He was created C.B.E. in 1930. Except for his eyesight he retained his faculties and vigour until extreme old age. His volume of reminiscences Now Came Still Evening On was published in 1941 when he was 90. It is an interesting volume though his memory was not always perfect about details. He died at Sydney on 27 April 1942. He married (1) Mary Ann Pugh, (2) Irene Morley. He was survived by three children of whom the eldest Julian Howard Ashton, born in 1877, is a capable artist and journalist. A brother, George Rossi Ashton, a very capable draughtsman, lived in Australia for about 15 years between 1878 and 1893 and then returned to England. He contributed largely to the leading illustrated journals of his period.
Ashton painted well in both oil and water-colour. Some of his early work is rather tight, but his Sir Henry Parkes (1889), and the Hon. Henry Gullett (1900), both in the national gallery at Sydney, are admirable pieces of portraiture, and his landscapes are often very good too. In his later work he developed a charming feeling for colour. He was a man of great honesty with much personal charm and force of character As a trustee of the national gallery at Sydney from 1889 to 1899 he fought hard and successfully for the encouragement of Australian painting, and the fine collection now in that institution owes much to him. As a teacher he influenced and guided most of the Sydney exhibiting artists of his period. He lived long enough to see a great change in the attitude towards art of the people of Australia, and no other man did so much towards making the place of art in the community better understood and appreciated. There are several examples of his work in the Sydney gallery, and he is also represented at Melbourne, Adelaide, Brisbane, Bendigo, Geelong, the national portrait gallery, London, and the Turnbull library, Wellington.
W. Moore, The Story of Australian Art; Julian Ashton, Now Came Still Evening On; The Julian Ashton Book; The Sydney Morning Herald, 29 April 1942; Debrett's Peerage etc., 1940.

Dictionary of Australian Biography by PERCIVAL SERLE. . 1949.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Ashton family — /ˈæʃtən/ (say ashtuhn) noun a family of Australian artists. 1. Julian Rossi, 1851–1942, born in England, landscape painter; founded the influential Sydney Art School (now the Julian Ashton Art School) in 1896. 2. his son, Julian Howard, 1877–1964 …   Australian English dictionary

  • Julian Ashton — Julian Rossi Ashton (27 January 1851 ndash; 27 April 1942) was an Australian artist and teacher, known for his support of the Heidelberg School and for his influential art school in Sydney.Ashton was born in Addlestone, Surrey, England and… …   Wikipedia

  • Paul Delprat — Paul Ashton Delprat (1942 ) is an Australian artist [ [http://www.julianashtonartschool.com.au/paul ashton delprat artist.html Julian Ashton Art School] Retrieved 27.9.2007] and the Principal of The Julian Ashton Art School, Sydney, Australia s… …   Wikipedia


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