J. Howard Ashton
painter, known as 'Howard Ashton', was born in England on 9 August 1877, eldest son of Julian Rossi Ashton and his wife, Eliza. Howard came to Melbourne with his parents in 1878. At a Society of Artists' Musical Afternoon, where the art students showed drawings: "Mr J. Howard Ashton showed a taste both for figures and landscape" (Sydney Morning Herald, 31 May 1897, p.3). Exhibited with the Society of Artists in 1897: "Mr J. Howard shows an advance and his no.71 'The Point' is painted with feeling" (Sydney Morning Herald, 2 October 1897, p.7).
'Australian Art in London... One has not space to mention all the good things but I would direct the visitor's attention to work by Messrs ...Howard Ashton' (Pall Mall Gazette, quoted in Sydney Morning Herald 12 May 1898, 7). Re Society of Artists Exhibition in 1898: 'Among the younger artists whose style is still immature, Mr Howard Ashton and Mr Garlick [Daniel Garlick] have both made an advance... The trustees of the National Art Gallery have purchased four pictures, namely...Mr F. Howard Ashton's "Through Sunny Meadows" (no.57) for £52.10..., thoroughly Australian in its character, [it] has value for the effect of brilliant sunlight suffused throughout, and there is feeling for colour in the harmonious gradations of tone from sky to water and to purple hills in the background. All this, and the clump of trees in the middle distance, is very good, but the foreground is not quite equal to the rest of the picture. The general style may be described as strongly "Streetonesque". Amongst the young painter's minor contributions, "An Old Love Story" (no.65) with its gorgeous colouring and quaint effect, has a certain cleverness; whilst an extraordinary little canvas, numbered 7? has the words "A Fantaisie" painted on it, in order, perhaps, that it may not be mistaken for a nightmare' (Sydney Morning Herald, 27 August 1898, 7).
Exhibited Society of Artists 1899, 1901, 1907, 1917; committee member 1907 (caricature of him by Will Dyson in catalogue). Also included in Society of Artists' Commonwealth Exhibition 1901. Exhibited Royal Agricultural Society 1902. See also catalogue of paintings at Atheneum Hall, 19 February-4 March 1913. His son Julian Richard Ashton was born in 1913. Howard Ashton's work was included in the Sydney Art School retrospective in 1933. See also catalogue of exhibition of paintings in oils, Farmer's Exhibition Hall, 16-21 June 19??. refer Dictionary of Australian Artists Online (DAAO.org.au)