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    Sale 7719

    The Irish and Sporting Art Sale

    8 May 2009, London, King Street

  • Lot 13

    William Ashford, P.R.H.A (c.1746-1824)

    A wooded River landscape with a fisherman on a rock casting his line

    Price Realised  


    William Ashford, P.R.H.A (c.1746-1824)
    A wooded River landscape with a fisherman on a rock casting his line
    signed 'W. Ashford' (lower right)
    oil on canvas
    29¼ x 36 in. (74.3 x 91.5 cm.)

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    William Ashford, who was born in Birmingham, moved to Ireland in 1764, under the patronage of Ralph Ward, whom the Duke of Leinster had brought to Dublin as Surveyor General of the Ordnance. Alongside an official position within the Ordnance Office in Dublin Castle, which involved auditing armaments and munition in the various forts and barracks throughout Ireland, Ashford developed his talents as an artist and became one of the best known landscape painters in Ireland, exhibiting his works in both Ireland and England. After the tragically premature death of his rival Thomas Roberts in 1778 there was little serious competition to him in Ireland as a landscape painter and he dominated the field for the next thirty years. An almost identical composition with different figures, which was signed and dated '1779', was sold at Christie's on 28 July 1961 (for which see A. Crookshank, 'A Life Devoted to Landscape Painting, William Ashford', Irish Arts Review Yearbook, Vol. 11, 1995, p. 130, no. 76). The picture can also be compared stylistically to Ashford's River in the Demesne at Charleville, signed and dated '1801' (National Gallery of Ireland). It has been suggested that the rugged rocky terrain in the present landscape makes it likely to be the Dargle river, Co. Wicklow, which was famous for its fishing. In 1801 an anonymous diarist singled out Ashford's work, including the Charleville pictures, for favourable comment in a review of the exhibition held in the former Irish House of Parliament on College Green:

    'There is abundant scope for an exertion of the artist's genius in the delineation of foliage. The articulation is perfect and the colouring so beautifully rich, and various, that I could with pleasure have spent hours in viewing them'.

    We are grateful to William Laffan for his assistance with this catalogue entry.

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    No VAT will be charged on the hammer price, but VAT at 15% will be added to the buyer's premium which is invoiced on a VAT inclusive basis.


    In the collection of the previous owner's family, County Kildare, Ireland, since at least the beginning of the 20th Century.


    W. Laffan and B. Rooney, Thomas Roberts: Landscape and Patronage in Eighteenth-Century Ireland, Tralee, 2009, p. 196, illustrated.