'The Sun Had Closed the Winter Day'

Joseph Farquharson, 1846 - 1935

'The Sun Had Closed the Winter Day'

Joseph Farquharson 1846 - 1935


A snowy, naturalistic, winter landscape, looking through an open gateway along a farm path, with bare trees on either side. The gateway is blocked by a herd of sheep coming through it, and a sheepdog and shepherd are visible behind them along the path. The dusky sunlight is framed by the bare branches of the trees reaching up into the sky.

Display Label

A Highland Romance: Victorian Views of Scottishness The popular idea of Scottishness in the 1800s came from Sir Walter Scott (1771–1832), who fictionalised exciting episodes from Scottish history. He created a colourful Highland identity for his nation, based on the customs and landscape of the sparsely populated mountainous areas. For Lowland Scots – the majority of the population – it was a fiction they took up gladly, perhaps because it emphasised difference from the English. However, most Victorians, Scots and English, felt cultural difference to be perfectly compatible with political union. Queen Victoria’s regular visits to Scotland encouraged the English to view it as a simple country retreat. By the end of her reign her wealthier English subjects came to regard Scotland principally as an arena for shooting, fishing and golf. Artists from both sides of the border visualised the stags, castles, mountains and tartan that made up this Victorian myth. Their paintings reaffirmed impressions gleaned from Scott’s novels and from tourist guide books to Scotland. The fact that Scotland was an industrialised nation taking an active part in the British Empire was largely ignored. Popular art and literature fed the ‘tartan monster’, refining a checklist of clichés that even today remain key to the marketing of Scotland. A number of local industrialist patrons who bought paintings with Scottish subjects later gave them to Manchester Art Gallery. As a result the Gallery has a particularly good late Victorian collection. Here is ‘Scottishness’, as seen from Manchester in the late 1800s.

Object Name

'The Sun Had Closed the Winter Day'

Creators Name

Joseph Farquharson

Date Created

1904 exhib


object (object: 43.3cm (17 1/16in)): 43.3cm
frame (frame: cm (in)): 66cm x 56.3cm
object (object: 33.7cm (13 5/16in)): 33.7cm

accession number


Place of creation





oil paint


Mr James Thomas Blair bequest, 1917.


© Manchester Art Gallery

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