Alfred V. Farnsworth Biography

Alfred V. Farnsworth





Watercolorist. Born in England near the border of Yorkshire and Lincolnshire in 1858. 

Being from an upper class family, Farnsworth 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, WA and, while there, married an English woman. Upon coming to San Francisco in 1892, Farnsworth 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. He sometimes painted with Thad Welch and Louis Rea. 

His subject matter seldom varied from scenes of the San Francisco Bay area. From his brush came views of Mount Tamalpais and the Mann 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 Gumps. 

An alcoholic, he died on Sept. 17, 1908 at Adler's Sanitarium in San Francisco. 

Exh: Calif. Artists, Golden Gate Park Museum, 1915. In: San Jose Museum; De Young Museum; Mann Co. Historical Society; Civic Art Gallery of San Jose; Society of Calif. Pioneers; Oakland Museum; CHS. CSL; CHS; AAW: From Frontier to Fire.

Biography courtesy, as submitted by Edan Hughes.