David Farquharson (1840-1907) was born in Blairgowrie, Perthshire, the younger son in the family of five children of Alexander Farquharson, dyke-builder, and Susan Clark his wife. He served an apprenticeship in the shop of a painter and decorator in Blairgowrie around the same time as another artist, William Geddes, who afterwards won a considerable reputation as a painter of fish.
After following his trade in the south of Scotland, Farquharson returned to his native town, and with his brother started the business of A. and D. Farquharson, housepainters. On the dissolution of this partnership (and the death of his wife Mary) he devoted himself to the art of landscape painting, which, with little or no regular training, he had long practised.
His first appearance at the Royal Scottish Academy, in 1868, was with a Solway landscape, and his sketching expeditions had already taken him as far as Ireland (where he had met Mary), but his main subjects throughout his career were found in his native glens and the Perthshire and western Highlands.
He moved to Edinburgh in 1872 and exhibited at the Royal Scottish Academy for the first time in 1878, elected an associate in 1882. It was during this period that he painted scenes on Arran. In 1886 he settled in London and between 1877 and 1904 he showed 39 paintings at the Royal Academy in London. He was elected an Associate of the Royal Academy in 1905.
He continued to spend many months each year painting in the Scottish Highlands and Lowlands, but he also painted Dutch and English landscapes in all sorts of atmospheric conditions, in a tonal palette reminiscent of early Corot.
In 1895, he moved to Sennen Cove, Cornwall, and subsequently Penzance, but continued to revisit Scotland. His landscapes attracted considerable attention.
His late pictures (1906/7), like all his large works, were painted with a broad brush and a feeling for the large aspect of nature but lacked the research and refinement of smaller landscapes painted earlier in the artist's life. The Manchester Art Gallery possesses one of Farquharson's oil paintings, and there are two in the Glasgow Art Galleries.
On 12 July 1907, he died at Balmore, Perthshire and was buried in Little Dunkeld churchyard.