David Farquharson ARSA 1840-1907
Elected ARSA: 8 November 1882
A native of Blairgowrie, where he was born in 1839, David Farquharson, A.R.S.A., A.R.A., first contributed to the Scottish Academy Exhibition in 1868. Though the subject was from Solwayside—a district to which he frequently returns in after-years—his early pictures deal mostly with that border land of Perth and Forfar shires adjoining his native town.
After his removal to Edinburgh, about 1872, his subjects are less localised, as is evidenced by such titles as “The Last Furrow,” 1878; “ Noonday Rest,” 1879; “Sheep-plunging,” 1880; the first-named of which received wide publicity, having been purchased and engraved by the Royal Association. In 1882 he was elected Associate of the Royal Scottish Academy, and about that time “ The Links of Forth,” The Prisons of the Bass,” and one or two Dutch subjects marked his artistic progress.
About 1887 Mr. Farquharson removed to London, and after a residence of some years there, partly for health reasons, he made his residence in Cornwall. But his visits to Scotland were frequent, and to the close his pictures illustrate the scenery of his native country, as well as that of his adopted home in the neighbourhood of Penzance.
From the date of his going south he was a regular exhibitor at the Royal Academy, where his work soon attracted the attention of Art lovers in the metropolis. In 1879 his picture “In a Fog” was purchased by the Trustees of the Chantrey Fund, a distinction which was also accorded to the more important “ Birnam Wood,” exhibited in 1906. Mr. Farquharson owed little to Art training.
The fact that he was over thirty before leaving his native district sufficiently accounts for this; and it was the more remarkable that his work shows a continuous development, his ablest pictures belonging to his last years. That which brought him the Associateship of the Royal Academy, “Full Moon and Spring Tide,” was exhibited at Burlington 5 House—where it occupied a centre in the great room—as late as 1904. “The Pilchard Season” and “ Dark Tintagel ” were his two last exhibited works. He died at Birnam, Perthshire, on 12th July.
Transcribed from the 1907 RSA Annual Report