William Ashford, landscape painter, was born in Birmingham. Aged 18 he travelled to Dublin as the protégé of Ralph Ward, Head of the Ordnance Department, and worked as a clerk in the Ordnance Department. Little is known of his artistic training, but his earliest paintings were flowerpieces and still lifes. In 1775, he first sent a landscape to the Royal Academy in London and, after resigning his position at the Ordanance, visited and exhibited in London regularly. His friend, architect James Gandon, designed his home at Sandymount, a coastal suburb of Dublin. Ashford was involved in setting up the Royal Hibernian Academy, promoting appreciation of the visual arts, shortly before his death and became its first President in 1823.
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