Following Farquharson

I have been posting nature photographs on Facebook for nearly a month now, thanks to a challenge by my brother-in-law, Fraser.  I have discovered that a fresh pair of eyes looking at what is for me, a familiar photograph can see different things.

Three years ago took a picture of some sheep in a snowy field just outside Hatton while I was on an early morning walk with my dog.  I was quite pleased with it – the sun just trying to shine through the wintery clouds and the sheep quietly grazing in the field.   When I put it on Facebook, Dana from Latvia immediately thought of something that had never occurred to me.   My picture reminded her of a postcard she had of a painting by Joseph Farquharson of Finzean.  He is best known for his landscapes of sheep in snow, often with the rising sun giving a warm orange glow to his pictures.

"Beneath The Snow Encumbered Branches" by Joseph Farquharson
“Beneath The Snow Encumbered Branches” by Joseph Farquharson

If it was good enough for the Laird of Finzean………  I opened up Photoshop and warmed up the tones in my original photograph and created my own Farquharson style picture.  Afterward Fraser said it did remind him of a Farquharson, painting.


Yesterday I made a trip to Birse to look for the farm where my great-great-grandfather, Joseph Coutts was born in 1806.  The old Parish Records for the Parish of Birse record his baptism there.  While I was in the area I paid a quick visit to the old Birse Kirk, and there in the graveyard was the tomb of the Farquharson family, including  Joseph Farquharson, the artist.  The reference books say that the Coutts family is a sept of the Farquharson Clan.  They may have shared a clan and a first name and hailed from the same part of the world, but they led very different lives, the 13th Laird of Finzean and the agricultural labourer who was my great-great-grandfather.

Birse Kirk
In memory of JOSEPH FARQUHARSON RA of Finzean (1846-1935)

By the way, I did find Murley, the farm where Joseph Coutts was born, but I will write about that another day.

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