Inspirational painting for Xmas cards may fetch up to £70,000
A PAINTING by a north-east artist which inspired one of Hallmark’s most popular Christmas cards is expected to fetch up to £70,000 when it goes under the hammer next week.
The Joseph Farquharson original of a shepherd tending to his flock of sheep in the snow has had pride of place in a woman’s living-room for the last three decades.
The unnamed seller bought the original from a London gallery for just £1,450, but is expected to make a good return on her investment when it is auctioned by Lyon and Turnbull on Monday. Beneath the Snow Encumbered Branches has been valued at between £50,000 and £70,000. Nick Carnow, a director at the Edinburgh auction house, said: “It is the epitome of a Christmas scene, an archetypal image. There has been a huge amount of interest in it so far.”
Jo Marchbank, of Hallmark Cards, said: “This particular painting was one of our most popular Christmas cards.
“It is probably something to do with the unique atmosphere Farquharson creates in his paintings, the dramatic yet subtle depiction of a winter landscape with a beautiful light bathing the scene from a setting sun."
Farquharson combined his career as a painter with his inherited role as laird of Finzean, Royal Deeside.
Jennifer Melville, keeper of fine art at Aberdeen Art Gallery, said: “He had a hut on wheels which he used to trundle around the estate to keep warm while he painted. Walter Sickert once said he painted snow better than anyone else.”
Angus Farquharson, whose wife’s grandmother was the artist’s second cousin, said he thought he had pinpointed the scene of the painting at Finzean.