Ashton, Julian


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(1851–1942) born Surrey, England, came to Australia with his wife Eliza Ann Pugh and son Julian Howard Ashton in 1878 to work as an illustrator on David Syme's Illustrated Australian News. In 1881 he joined the Australasian Sketcher and in 1883 moved to Sydney to work on the Picturesque Atlas of Australasia and later on the Bulletin. An active professional artist, Ashton was president of the Art Society of New South Wales (1887–92) and president of the Society of Artists (1897–98), the two organisations amalgamating in 1903 to become the Royal Art Society of New South Wales. His own art school, which was variously known as the Sydney Art School and (from 1935) the Julian Ashton Art School, enjoyed a considerable reputation, numbering among its students the later well-known artists Elioth Gruner, J.J. Hilder, Sydney Ure Smith and William Dobell. A gifted teacher and artist, Ashton's achievements included the painting Evening, Merri Creek (1882), claimed by him to be the first plein air painting done in Australia. He won the Sydney sesquicentenary prize for a watercolour in 1938; painted numerous portraits of prominent Australians (e.g. Sir Henry Parkes); was awarded the Society of Artists' Medal for distinguished services to Australian art in 1924; and was made CBE in 1930. He contributed numerous articles to Art in Australia and published his reminiscences, Now Came Still Evening On, in 1941. The Julian Ashton Book was published in his honour in 1920.

From The Oxford Companion to Australian Literature in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Literature.

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