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 Stephen Ashton  (1894 - 1980)

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Lived/Active: Massachusetts / United Kingdom      Known for: house portrait

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Stephen Ashton
An example of work by Stephen Ashton
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
The following is from Peter Kostoulakos, AOA, NEAA: Fine Art Consultant, www.pkart.com


Stephen Ashton - artist, machinist, teacher, and director - was born in Glossop Derbyshire, England on October 2, 1894. He summered in Morecambe, England from 1959 to the time of his death on June 10, 1980 at the Beaumont Hospital in Lancaster, England. Ashton came to the United States in 1914 and for most of his adult life he lived and worked in Lowell, MA. Various Lowell addresses are: 10 Whidden Street until 1951, 4 Chester Street from 1952 to 1960, and 14 Holden Street from 1961 to 1980.

He started working for the Red Cross as a first aid teacher in 1939. Later he earned the title of Director of Safety Services for the Lowell chapter of the American Red Cross and served at this capacity from 1941 to 1971. In the City of Lowell Directory for 1935 he is listed as a painter and was active as an artist in the 1930s.

Ashton is primarily known for his 1939 house portrait of "The Lambert House" built in 1882 and 1883 by Henry and Sarah Lambert on land that was once owned by Sarah Lambert's great grandfather, Captain John Ford. The historical significance of this work is tied to Ford, a Revolutionary war hero and the first to make use of waterpower generated by the Merrimack River's Pawtucket Falls. The Lambert House was donated to the Red Cross in 1939 by the children of Henry and Sarah Lambert in order for the chapter to centralize its World War II efforts. The Lambert House is on the National Register of Historic Places and was the Red Cross chapter headquarters up to the middle of 2004.

Another of Ford's descendents, and next-door neighbor to the Lambert House, was Lowell born artist, Mary Earl Wood (1866-1951). Wood was the resident artist of the Whistler House Museum of Art in Lowell from 1900-1930 and studied academic painting at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston under the tutelage of Edmund Charles Tarbell (1862-1938) and Frank Weston Benson (1862-1951).


References: Davenport's Art Reference 2003/2004, page 110; Mallett Supplement, page 9; Gary Ferris, American Red Cross of Merrimack Valley, March 14, 2002; Center for Lowell History, Mogan Center, Lowell, MA; Lowell Sun, Funeral Notices, Sunday, June 22, 1980, and Obituary, Monday, June 23, 1980.





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