Artist Biography

1858 - 1908

Alfred Villiers Farnsworth was born in England near the border of Yorkshire and Lincolnshire in 1858. Being from an upper class family, he was well educated in England and later became a member of the British Royal Engineeers. While studying civil engineering in Paris, he became interested in painting and may have had some instruction there. From Paris, he moved to Canada where his sketching ability was of great use while working as a railroad surveyor. He then lived for several years in Spokane, Washington and, while there, married an English woman. Upon coming to San Francisco in 1892, he gained employment as an artist for the Examiner and, while in that capacity, painted many luminous watercolors. He later moved across the bay to Marin County where he was a resident of San Anselmo, Stinson Beach, and San Rafael. His subject matter seldom varied from scenes of the San Francisco Bay area. From his brush came views of Mount Tamalpais and the Marin hills, the Golden Gate, Fort Point, and coastal scenes. Farnsworth also painted a series of highly detailed and colorful English hunting scenes which were very popular at the turn of the century and sold readily at Gump's. An alcoholic, he died on September 17, 1908 at Adler's Sanitarium in San Francisco. Exhibited: California Artists, Golden Gate Park Museum, 1915. Works held: San Jose Museum; De Young Museum; Marin County Historical Society; Civic Art Gallery of San Jose; Society of California Pioneers; Oakland Museum; California Historical Society.

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