Born in Leeds in 1927, Joash Woodrow was one of eight sons and two daughters. His father and mother were of Polish background, marrying in Boston, USA. On moving to Leeds his father worked as a Hebrew scholar and bookseller before finally moving into the textile trade. Joash initially trained at Leeds College of Art after which he served in the army as a cartographer, Egypt 1945 – 1948. Between 1950 – 1953 he studied drawing and painting at the Royal College of Art, his fellow students including Frank Auerbach, Peter Blake and the novelist Len Deighton.
Shortly after graduating from the RCA Joash returned to his home in Chapel Allerton, Leeds where he lived an increasingly solitary life. In 2000, 772 paintings and 3500 drawings were found at his home by Andrew Stewart; Joash having been moved to sheltered accommodation following a period of prolonged poor health. The first ever exhibition of Joash Woodrow’s paintings was held in 2002; representing the first glimpse of the artists output between 1940 and the 1990’s. Since then solo exhibitions have been held at Leeds City Art Gallery, Manchester Art Gallery, the Ben Uri Art Gallery, London, Leeds Metropolitan University Art Gallery and several other University art galleries. His work is held in the collections of Leeds City Art Gallery, Manchester Art Gallery, The Ben Uri, Liverpool University, Hull University, Liverpool Metropolitan University, Pallant House, Chichester. A highly successful exhibition was held at the Fine Art Society, London, in 2009.
Following his death in 2006 extensive obituaries appeared in the Guardian, Telegraph and in the regional press.