Portrait of Julian Rossi Ashton 1933

Julian Rossi Ashton CBE (1851-1942), art teacher, artist and critic, trained in art in London and at the Académie Julian in Paris before coming to Australia to work on the Illustrated Australian News in 1878. After some years in Melbourne, in 1883 he moved to Sydney to work on the Picturesque Atlas of Australasia. He began giving private art classes in 1886, and in 1895 established his own school in King Street. There, his students included George Lambert, Thea Proctor, Elioth Gruner and Sydney Long. In 1906 he opened the Sydney Art School in the Queen Victoria Markets; from 1935, relocated to George Street, it became the Julian Ashton School. A dominant and influential figure on the Sydney art scene for 50 years, throughout the 1890s Ashton was a Trustee of the Art Gallery of New South Wales; in the same period, he was president of the Society of Artists, which evolved through amalgamation into the Royal Art Society of New South Wales. In 1907 he moved to re-establish the Society of Artists, of which he was president until 1921 and vice-president until 1940.

Artist Eric Wilson was a former student of Ashton’s, and worked as a teacher at the Julian Ashton School and at the King’s School, Parramatta, in the latter years of his life.