The Berger Collection

Collection: William Ashford (ca. 1746-1824)

William Ashford (ca. 1746-1824)

William Ashford was born in Birmingham in the English Midlands. He moved to Ireland in 1764 to accept an appointment at the Ordnance Office in Dublin, a position he held for over twenty years. His earliest known paintings, two flower pictures he exhibited at the Dublin Society of Arts, date from 1767. Five years later he exhibited his first landscapes, also at the Dublin Society of Arts. These included the earliest known example of the country house views for which he became best known. He showed his first paintings at London’s Royal Academy in 1775, exhibiting twenty-five works, mainly Irish landscapes, over the next thirty-six years. Between 1800 and 1821 he also exhibited regularly in Dublin, and became President of the Irish Society of Artists in 1813. In 1823, at age seventy-seven, he was elected the first President of the Royal Hibernian Academy. Among an impressive group of patrons were Richard, 7th Viscount Fitzwilliam (1745–1816), for whom he painted views of Mount Merrion Park; Charles Bury, 1st Earl of Charleville (1764–1835); Charles Moore, 1st Marquis of Drogheda (1730–1822); William, 2nd Duke of Leinster (1749–1804); Bernard Ward, 1st Viscount Bangor (1719–81), and William, 2nd Earl Fitzwilliam (1748–1833).