#FridayPainting: Joseph Farquharson “The Sun Peeped o’er yon Southland Hills”

His first love was always the Scottish Highlands.

Joseph Farquharson RA (Royal Academy of Arts) was a Scottish painter, appreciated for his snowy landscapes with sheep, often set in morning or late afternoon light. His first love was always the Scottish Highlands, and he spent much of his time there, especially in the Cairngorms.

Joseph Farqharson (1846-1935), Southland Hills (Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons)

Joseph Farquharson is one of the most popular Scottish artists of his time. Born in Edinburgh in 1846, he studied at the Trustees’ Academy under Robert Scott Lauder and James Drummond.

He later studied in London, Paris, and Florence. His three years in Paris studying in the studio of Carolus-Duran were pivotal.  He formed a valuable friendship with John Singer Sargent, who was a fellow student. He travelled extensively in Europe, including Switzerland, Norway, Italy, and Spain. These trips had a profound effect on his creative work.

Travels to Egypt between 1885 and 1893 offered Joseph Farquharson a new perspective that is seen in his painting, “Market on the Nile”, held at the Manchester Art Gallery.  But he will always be remembered for his poignant snow scenes of Aberdeenshire. He became known as “‘Frozen Mutton’ Farquharson” and “The Painting Laird.”

He was elected an Associate of the Royal Academy in 1900 and an Academician in 1915. In his later years, he lived at Finzean, in Aberdeenshire, where he died in 1935. His work is represented in many public collections in Scotland and elsewhere, including the National Gallery of Scotland, the Scottish National Portrait Gallery, and the Tate Gallery.

Farquharson’s paintings are characterized by a certain tranquility and serenity, which is perhaps why they are so popular.

He offers a glimpse into a world that is calm and orderly, in contrast to the chaos of the modern world.

Joseph Farquharson, by Joseph Farquharson (1846–1935), (Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons)

Published by Rebecca Budd

Blogger, Visual Storyteller, Podcaster, Traveler and Life-long Learner

27 thoughts on “#FridayPainting: Joseph Farquharson “The Sun Peeped o’er yon Southland Hills”

  1. I enjoyed this very much, the photo/painting you chose I looked at for several seconds and had hoped for another one like it. I would have enjoyed seeing more of the beautiful scenes with sheep. It brings to my mind all of the wonderful years I spent on the farm and pastures in rural Nebraska; so lovely and beautiful! ! The picture of the artist shows a very handsome man and would suggest an individual who understood art. Thank you for choosing the painting and the photo of the handsome artist.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I remember those winter scenes from rural Nebraska, Frances. There was a marvelous sense of tranquility, of stillness, of solitude, when we stood on the hill and looked across the canyon. I recall seeing stocks of tall brown grass poke through the snow cover. Remember how the chill would bring out and reveal our breaths? Wonderful, unforgettable memories.

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  2. Thank you Rebecca!
    Another artist I didn’t know of. I adore the painting here. It’s cold and snowy, but there are sheep. I adore sheep. Who paints sheep? Joseph Farquharson does.
    I won’t use the word “did”. As long as his works remain for us to enjoy, his still does, as with all artists.

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    1. Resa – your comments touched me deeply when you said, “I won’t use the word “did”. That is exactly what I feel when I view a creative endeavour. When someone puts their heart and soul into a work of art, it will remain fresh, alive, vibrant!! I think it was Vincent Van Gogh who said “what is done with love is well done.” And that is what you do with your art gowns!!! Fresh! Alive! Vibrant!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I am delighted that you enjoyed this painting. I am fascinated by the how a location speaks to a painter. I imagine that if we traveled to Scotland at this moment, we would feel that we were with Joseph Farquharson!

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    1. I am delighted that you enjoyed this painting by Joseph Farquharson, Sylvia. When I discovered that Joseph Farquharson was good friends with John Singer Sargent, I wondered what it would have been like sitting at a restaurant in the table next to them. What would they have discussed? What adventures would they plan? What creative endeavours did they want to accomplish? They had a long-standing friendship which is confirmed by a portrait by John Singer Sargent of Joseph Farquharson’s older brother, Dr. Robert Farquharson. Check this link at the Aberdeen Art Gallery and Museum.


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    1. I am delighted that you enjoyed this painting, Mary Jo. What came to mind as I viewed the artwork, was the music by J.S.Bach – Sheep May Safely Graze.

      “Sheep may safely graze and pasture
      In a watchful shepherd’s sight.

      Those who rule with wisdom guiding
      Bring to hearts a peace abiding
      Bless a land with joy made bright.”

      And of course, I went down the rabbit hole….

      Sheep May Safely Graze is played at several weddings that I have attended, but it was composed for a birthday celebration of Christian, Duke of Saxe-Weissenfels. (I did go on to find out more about the Duke until I was called away by a phone call with Frances – who saved me from falling further LOL)

      Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you for stopping by and traveling with me to Scotland, Colleen. I agree – there a magical light that floods the entire scene. Robert Burns will be celebrated on January 25th. I think he captures the spirit of this painting with his poem: My Heart’s in the Highlands:

      “My heart’s in the Highlands, my heart is not here,
      My heart’s in the Highlands, a-chasing the deer;
      Chasing the wild-deer, and following the roe,
      My heart’s in the Highlands, wherever I go.”

      Liked by 2 people

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