Old Catalogue
Manuscripts, oral history and pictures catalogue
Adlib Internet Server 5
Try the new catalogue. Start exploring now ›


  • Title
    Ashton family photographs and papers, ca. 1860-1996
  • Creator
  • Call number
    MLMSS 8230
  • Level of description
  • Date

    ca. 1860-1996
  • Type of material
  • Reference code
  • Physical Description
    1.10 metres of textual material (4 boxes)

    Julian Rossi Ashton (1851-1942), art teacher and artist, was born on 27 January 1851 at Addelstone, Surrey, England, elder son of a wealthy American, Thomas Briggs Ashton, and his wife Henrietta, daughter of Count Carlo Rossi, a Sardinian diplomat. On 1 August 1876 at Hackney he married Eliza Ann Pugh (d. 1900).

    Ashton arrived in Melbourne in June 1878, to work on David Syme's Illustrated Australian News. In 1881 he joined the Melbourne-based Australasian Sketcher and in 1883 moved to Sydney to work on the Picturesque Atlas of Australasia.

    In 1886 Ashton began to teach privately. In 1895 he established his own school in King Street, moved it to the Queen Victoria Markets in 1906 and renamed it the Sydney Art School. In George Street from 1935 it became the Julian Ashton School and always enjoyed a considerable reputation: among his students were George Lambert, Elioth Gruner, Jesse Hilder, Thea Proctor, Sydney Ure Smith, William Dobell, Jean Bellette and D. Dundas.

    Ashton was a well-established artist in both oils and watercolour. He painted the portraits of, among others, Sir Henry Parkes and Archbishop Michael Kelly. Awarded the Society of Artists' medal for distinguished services to Australian art in 1924, he was appointed C.B.E. in 1930, and won the Sydney sesquicentenary prize for a watercolour in 1938.

    Ashton died on 27 April 1942 at Bondi, survived by two of his four sons and a daughter of his first marriage, and by his second wife Constance Irene, née Morley, whom he had married on 8 September 1902.

    His brother George Rossi (b. 1857) studied at the South Kensington School of Art and became a black-and-white illustrator for the London Graphic. In 1877-1878 he represented the Illustrated London News at the Kaffir war and next year joined Julian on the Illustrated Australian News in Melbourne; together they covered the capture of the Kelly gang at Glenrowan. He was among the first sketch-artists of the Bulletin, drew also for the Australasian Sketcher, the Illustrated Sydney News and the Picturesque Atlas of Australasia, and was art editor and artist for Victoria and its Metropolis. In 1886-1888 he was a member of the Art Society of New South Wales and the Australian Artists' Association (Victoria). In 1893 he returned to England where he continued to illustrate for various papers and toured music-halls with a lightning-sketch routine. He published Australasian Sketches (London, 1895). He had married Blanche Brooke, daughter of George Coppin, and settled on the River Dart with his wife and two sons.

    Julian Richard Ashton (Richard) was the grandson of Julian Rossi Ashton. He studied at the Ashton school during the early 1930s, and by the outbreak of the Second World War had established himself as an artist with a solid classical art training.

    After unsuccessfully applying to the Commonwealth Art Committee for appointment as an official war artist, Ashton enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force (AIF) in December 1941. In May the following year, Ashton was appointed as an official war artist for a period of three months. Seconded to the Military History Section (MHS) in late 1942 Ashton worked on New Guinea paintings in his Sydney studio. He also proofed illustrations for army annuals, recorded civil defence installations and army anti-air craft crews in and around Sydney while continuing to express a desire to return to New Guinea.

    Discharged in 1945, Ashton continued to work as an artist. He was employed by the NSW Department of Tourist Activities and Immigration for over 20 years before taking over the directorship of the Julian Ashton Art School in 1961.

    Harper, Katherine, 'Ashton, Julian Rossi (1851–1942)', Australian Dictionary of Biography online. http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/ashton-julian-rossi-5073/text8461 (Accessed 3 February 2012)

    'Richard Ashton', Australian War Memorial. https://www.awm.gov.au/people/10843/ (Accessed 3 February 2012)
  • Scope and Content
    BOX 1
    Folder 1
    Letters, mainly from Sir Henry Parkes to Julian Rossi Ashton, 1888-1891

    Folder 2
    Letters received by Julian Rossi Ashton, mainly from Sir Philip Game, Robert Louis Stevenson, Eliezer Levi Montefiore, Lord Carrington, Sir Henry Parkes, Thomas R. Bavin, Bernhard R. Wise, Arthur Streeton, William Dobell, and Phil May, ca. 1888-1937

    Letters received by Henry C. Gibbons (Director, Julian Ashton School), from William Dobell, 1960; and catalogue: Australian Art Exhibition of Norman Lindsay, Macleod Gallery, Sydney, 1937

    Folder 3
    Correspondence, being mainly letters received, of Julian Rossi Ashton, with George Rossi Ashton, Norman Lindsay, and Jack Passmore, 1928-1942

    Letters received by Richard Ashton from his father (Howard Ashton), mother (Ethel Ashton), grandfather (Julian Rossi Ashton), Norman Lindsay, Rose Lindsay, Lionel Lindsay, Will Ashton, Charmian Clift, Ruth Park, Mary Gilmore, Henry C. Gibbons, George Patterson, Fred Williams, Alan Villiers (with obituary of Villiers), and Jack Noel Kilgour, 1925-1982

    Correspondence, being mainly letters received, with Henry C. Gibbons, Jack Passmore, with manuscript 'What is Drawing', Howard Hinton, and Irene Ashton, 1942-1951

    Other papers, including minimal correspondence of other Ashton family members, enclosures and draft literary manuscripts

    Folder 4
    Letters received by Richard Ashton from Howard Ashton, Julian Rossi Ashton, Wenda Ashton, George Rayner, Howard Hinton, Will Ashton, John Olsen, Malcolm Ellis, Geoffrey Dutton, Sir Erik Langker, Ann Dangar, Nigel Thomson, E. G. Whitlam, Alan Villiers, Justice Harry Bauer, O. L. Brett, Rene Nossal [?], Sandra Darroch, Suzanne Mourot, and David Thomas (Director, Newcastle City Art Gallery), 1938-1995

    Other papers, including 'A Recollection', being a manuscript memoir by Jean Bellette; and letter from J. L. Treloar to Major Backhouse, 25 Nov. 1942, concerning Richard Ashton's allocation as a war artist to the Military History Section, L.H.Q.

    Folder 5
    Invitations and catalogies, some signed by Julian Rossi Ashton, mainly for art exhibitions featuring Ashton family members, Norman Lindsay, William Dobell, etc.; also includes membership list of the Australian Society of Marine Artists, ca. 1930-1999

    BOX 2
    Folder 1: Julian Ashton photographic reproduction/paintings
    Photographs of Ashton family members including Julian, Rene, Bertha, Cedric and John Ashton, Rosalind, and Percy Ashton; also Sir Henry Parkes and W. A. Holman; also includes reproductions of artworks, ca. 1860-1940

    Letters received by Richard Ashton from Nancy Sturgess, 1996

    Folder 2: Julian Ashton clippings, photographs, paintings
    Photographs of Rayner Hoff; Elioth Gruner; Robert Louis Stevenson, one by the Falk Studios, 496 George Street, and the other by Kerry & Jones, 308 George Street; Will Ashton; photographs of artwork, ca. 1860-1940

    Copy of 'The black-and-white maestros' by Les Tanner, with details of and illustrations by Norman Lindsay, Ruby Lindsay, and Lionel Lindsay, from The Bulletin, Centenary Issue, 29 January 1980

    Folder 3
    Photographs of Norman Lindsay in his studio, statues from Lindsay's estate, artworks; copies of portraits of Julian Ashton, Henry Lawson, and bust of Norman Lindsay; also includes clippings of Norman Lindsay illustrations in 'The Lone Hand', ca. 1907-1956

    BOX 3
    Sydney Art School Students Show, 24th-30th Sept. [38 cm x 25.3 cm], undated

    Photographs of Elioth Gruner by Rudolph Bucher, Julian Ashton by May Moore and others, George Ashton, ca. 1860-1920

    Folder 1-2
    Letter received by Richard Ashton from friends, Ken and Beryl at Ayres Rock, 1995

    Papers concerning Richard Ashton's tour of duty as a war artist in New Guinea, being mainly illustrated letters to his wife, Wenda, with enclosed pen and ink and wash drawings, 1942-45

    Letters received by Wenda Ashton from Richard Ashton, 1983-84; photocopied letters from Mrs Julian Ashton to her daughter, Bertha, [189- ]; illustrated envelopes, by Julian Rossi Ashton, 1901; and drawings by Richard Ashton, 1944, ca. 1988

    BOX 4
    Photographic portraits of Julian Rossi Ashton, some by May Moore and Harold Cazneaux, and of Howard Ashton, by May Moore; and unidentified Aboriginal family in a tent, ca. 1860-1940
  • Source
    Purchased from Mrs Wenda Ashton, November 2003
  • Access Conditions

    This material is held offsite and is usually available after 4pm on the next business day. Please submit your request through Ask a Librarian
  • Copying Conditions
    Copyright status:: In copyright
    Research & study copies allowed:
    Rights and Restrictions Information:: No publication without prior written approval of copyright holder
    Out of copyright: Photographs created before 1955
    Please acknowledge: : Mitchell Library, State Library of New South Wales
  • Description source

    Information upgraded as part of the Manuscripts Unprocessed eRecords Project 2011-2012
  • Creator/Author/Artist
  • Name
  • Subject
  • Topic
  • Browse collection hierarchy
  • Manuscript Index
  • A
  • B
  • C
  • D
  • E
  • F
  • G
  • H
  • I
  • J
  • K
  • L
  • M
  • N
  • O
  • P
  • Q
  • R
  • S
  • T
  • U
  • V
  • W
  • X
  • Y
  • Z

Share this result by email