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Julian Rossi Ashton



Ashton Julian (Rossi)

(b Alderstone, England, 27 Jan 1851; d Bondi, Sydney, 27 April 1942).

Australian painter and writer. He attended the West London School of Art and, following the end of the Franco-Prussian War in 1871, the Académie Julian in Paris. In 1878 the newspaper owner David Syme invited Ashton to Melbourne to produce black-and-white illustrations for the Illustrated Australian News. After a disagreement with the management he transferred to the rival Australasian Sketcher. In 1883 he went to Sydney, where he joined the staff of the Picturesque Atlas of Australia and also contributed to the Sydney Bulletin. Ashton was an ardent disciple of Impressionist painting and claimed to have executed the first plein-air landscape in Australia: Evening, Merri Creek (1882; Sydney, A.G. NSW). Much of his work, as in the watercolour A Solitary Ramble (1888; Sydney, A.G. NSW), had a strong sentimental streak. In addition to his outdoor works Ashton painted a number of portraits, such as that of Helen Ashton (c. 1890; Canberra, N.G.). After teaching at the Art Society of New South Wales School from 1892 to 1896, he founded the Sydney Art School in 1896 (since 1975: Sydney College of the Arts). It became a centre of activity for aspiring young Australian artists and among its alumni were George W. Lambert, Sydney Long, William Dobell and John Passmore. In Sydney, Ashton attracted a circle of artist-disciples that included Charles Conder, Alfred James Daplyn (18441926) and Albert Henry Fullwood (18631930), and he often worked with them in the scenic Hawkesbury River area. He continued to produce Impressionist-style portraits and landscapes throughout his life and influenced ideas of national patronage for Australian art. He encouraged government purchases and in 1913 lobbied for the foundation of the Education Department Gallery in Sydney.


Summer holidays



Young woman with parasol



The chess game



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