Joseph Farquharson Hand Coloured Engravings

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1846 -1935

Born Edinburgh, 4 May; died Finzean, Aberdeenshire, 15 April.

Painter in oil and sometimes watercolour of landscape, garden scenes and occasional portraits. Renowned for his snow scenes. Son of Francis Farquharson, laird of Finzean and medical practitioner in Kincardineshire. His brother Robert, a much respected physician and local Member of Parliament, bore a claim to the chieftainship of the clan but this was never pressed. His mother, a celebrated beauty, was an Ainslie. Early days were spent in his father's house in Northumberland Street below Queen Street Gardens and later at Eaton Terrace beyond the Dean Bridge, Edinburgh and at Finzean.

Until he was 12 Joseph was allowed to paint only on Saturdays when he was permitted to use his father's paints. On his twelfth birthday he was presented with his first box of paints, a gift he was quick to celebrate the following summer by submitting a picture to the Royal Scottish Academy which was accepted. The popular Scottish landscape painter and teacher Peter Graham was a family friend, under whose tutelage the young man studied for twelve years. Most of his early subjects were inspired by the countryside around his home. Aged 16 he entered the Board of Manufacturers School in Edinburgh under the guidance of Hodder and in 1880 studied in Paris under Carolus Duran. Between 1885 and 1893 he paid several visits to Egypt. Among the works exhibited at this time were ' The Egyptian ', ' On the Banks of the Nile Outside Cairo ', and perhaps the best of his Egyptian work, 'He Drove them wandering o'er the Sandy Way '.

His first major portrait was of ' Miss Alice Farquhar ' exhibited 1884. His first exhibit at the Royal Academy, ' Day's Dying Glow ', was in 1873. In common with other leading Aberdeen artists (eg John Philip and William Dyce), Edinburgh and Glasgow were leap-frogged in favour of London.

Walter Sickert wrote an essay comparing Farquharson's treatment of snow scenes to those of Courbet and praised the former's lightness of touch, ' the mark of the real painter '.

Farquharson had deep understanding of people as well as of men and women of the land going about their daily labour. As he grew older his work became more impressionistic, less pictorially precise. The mood began to transcend the particulars.

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