Joseph Farquharson R.A.



Artist's Biography & Works For Sale

Joseph Farquharson was born in Edinburgh on the 4th of May 1846 to Francis Farquharson of Finzean and Alison Mary Anselie. He began painting at an early age and exhibited his first painting at the Royal Scottish Academy aged thirteen.

Farquharson trained in the Trustees Academy and it was here he met and became acquainted with the great Scottish landscape artist Peter Graham. During the 1870s and 1880s, Farquharson spent some time at the studio of the French academic artist Carolus-Duran in Paris and whilst there he met John Singer Sargent, with whom he travelled to Cairo on a painting trip. Farquharson’s first exhibit at the Royal Academy was in 1873 with a painting titled ‘Day’s Dying Glow’ and over the course of his long and successful career would go on to exhibit over 200 works.

Farquharson was elected Associate of the Royal Academy in 1900, Royal Academician in 1915 and Senior Royal Academician in 1922. As well as being a tremendous painter, Farquharson was also the Laird of the Finzean Estate, a title he inherited after the death of his brother in 1918 and it was here he executed many of his landscapes.  

The RA collection team on an article published on 1 January 2014 wrote on Farquharson, ‘Even in those dark winter months he was always eager to paint en plein air, or outside rather than in his studio, which earned him the nickname ‘Frozen Mutton Farquharson’ among friends and audiences at the Royal Academy. He built a mobile horse-drawn caravan with a wood burning stove and a large window so that he could paint in the snowy fields with a modicum of comfort, yet his compositions were not completely spontaneous, he paid the butcher and the taxidermist to create several model sheep that he could place around the scene as he pleased. In this way he conceptualized his paintings more as still lifes than as living landscapes, manipulating individual elements to achieve a perfect arrangement’. Farquharson also exhibited in the Tate and The Royal College of Art.

He died on the 15th of April 1935 aged 89 and was thought to have been the oldest living British artist at the time.