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    Sale 5306

    Scottish Art

    16 April 2008, London, South Kensington

  • Lot 35

    Joseph Farquharson, R.A. (1846-1935)

    Five Sisters of Kintail, Glen Shiel

    Price Realised  


    Joseph Farquharson, R.A. (1846-1935)
    Five Sisters of Kintail, Glen Shiel
    signed 'J Farquharson 1902' (lower left)
    oil on canvas
    40 x 60 in. (101.6 x 152.4 cm.)
    sold together with correspondence from Farquharson to the first owner.

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    The 13 letters from Farquharson to the buyer, Hermann Schürhoff, which accompany the painting date from October 27th 1901 to June 8th 1902. They offer a fascinating insight into Farquharson's working practices and opinions. He discusses the potential difficulties of hanging such a large work in a private home but comments that a big picture is so much more "amusing". At the time of the correspondence he is working simultaneously on several pictures at once and there is some discussion about which one the buyer will prefer. He states firmly that he will not choose which are to be sent to the Royal Academy until they are all finished, explaining that as a member he is entitled to exhibit eight paintings, only four of which are guaranteed to be hung "on the line". This is considered to be the best position as it is in the viewer's eye line. Therefore, he clarifies, this is why he submitted only four works each year, as the possibility of the remaining works being "skied" - hung very high on the wall where lesser exhibits were often relegated - was not to be contemplated. It was not until 1913 that he exhibited more than four works in any one year.

    The letters emphasise the importance he placed on acceptance within the Academy. He confides his hope that one day he will be elected a full member (in 1902 he is still an associate member, achieving membership in 1915) and with this objective, he will only send pictures that will make the very best impression. He discusses his various options for the coming year, of which our painting is one. However, Peter Graham, his great friend (and artist of lots 30 and 31 in this sale), points out that it is similar to one of his exhibits of the previous year. It may be for this reason that ultimately Farquharson chose not to exhibit the work at the Academy. After completing it, he described the picture as what he would consider "a good specimen of my art" and charged the client £400. He is evidently pleased with the result, noting that his brother is almost angry with him for not sending it to the Royal Academy, and that people from Liverpool expressed an interest in exhibiting it in their show.

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    No VAT will be charged on the hammer price, but VAT at 15% will be added to the buyer's premium which is invoiced on a VAT inclusive basis.


    Hermann Schürhoff, and thence by descent to the present owner.