William Ashford.......some of his grey-wash drawings of Mount Merrion
(c) 2016 Mount Merrion Historical Society
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William Ashford 1746-1824 Mount Merrion: The Lodge Plan of Mount Merrion The Stables The Lodge seen from the east advance
The Lodge seen from the island The Kitchen Garden The wood-house on the north terrace View from the rear of the fir grove View from the gate in Owenstown Avenue
View of the north terrace from the upper end of the north avenue View from near the north terrace of the bay and hill of Howth View near Mount Anoillega The gothic building at the end of the north terrace The farm
View from the south side of the fir grove View from the rear of the ash grove View near the farm
Around 1804 William Ashford was commissioned by Viscount Fitzwilliam to paint his house and estate at Mount Merrion. Six of these paintings are now in the Fitzwilliam Museum at Cambridge along with a portfolio of twenty-four drawings almost all of which relate to Mount Merrion.

The photo album to the right is showing some of those drawings.      (click on any photo to enlarge).

William Ashford was born in Birmingham; nothing is known of his life until, as a young man of eighteen, he moved to Ireland. Through the patronage of the Surveyor General, Ralph Ward, he obtained a post as Clerk to the Controller of the Laboratory section of the Ordnance Office at Dublin Castle. This involved travelling around Ireland auditing the armaments and munitions in forts and barracks. He may have become interested in landscape painting from those travels around the countryside.

His first landscapes were exhibited in 1772 and his talent was quickly recognised. He is not mentioned in the Dublin Society Schools records except for a second place prize he won in 1772 for a landscape painting - the first prize was won by Thomas Roberts. Roberts died in 1778 and from then on Ashford was the most acclaimed landscape artist in Ireland. He was a founding member and first President of The Royal Hibernian Academy (RHA).
The original drawings and images are the property of the Fitzwilliam Museum Cambridge and all copyrights are acknowledged.
Mount Merrion Historical Society
Ashford received many commissions from the landed gentry in Ireland to paint their estates - he worked for Lord Rossmore, the Duke of Leinster and the Earl of Charleville among others.

He resided in Ireland - his house in Sandymount was designed  by his friend the celebrated architect James Gandon - but he maintained his links with England and exhibited at the Royal Academy and the Society of Artists. In later years he painted many seascapes, perhaps inspired by living beside Dublin Bay.

Ashford died in 1824 and is buried in Donnybrook cemetery.
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