Life in Elmbridge
Farington painted the second Walton Bridge from Oatlands on June 1st 1793. As well as this, his painting 'The Fishing Match' is believed to be set upon the river Thames in the Elmbridge area. This painting details a typical 18th century landscape, demonstrating the period clothing and fashionable pastimes of the landed gentry. There is less importance placed on the background, with Farington wanting the viewer to focus on the figures in the foreground and the details of their activities.
Life outside of Elmbridge
Second of seven sons to William Farington, Joseph was sent to London in 1763 to train in the studio of Richard Wilson, one of the founders of the Royal Academy. Having won premiums from the Society of Royal Artists in the mid-1760's, Farington was elected into the R.A. in 1785. As Evelyn Newby comments, "it is difficult to make a real appraisal of his paintings as they are scattered in many private and public collections, and rarely appear in art sales", although it is regarded that "Farington's real forte lay in the careful, accurate topographical drawings which he prepared for the folios of engravings of British views which found a ready market among tourists confined to Britain by unrest abroad".
Farington's historical worth extended past his landscape art, The diarisation of his later life became an interesting piece of social history. Started in July 1793 up until his death, it has proved a valuable source, not just for an insight into the art industry and the internal workings of the Royal Academy, but as an account of the social, political and literary events of the day. This was helped by his close ties to the Walpole family through his wife Susan Mary Hamond, as well as the election of his cousin, Admiral Gardner, to the House of Commons (first as MP for Plymouth and then Westminster). This made sure that Farington was kept abreast of the major political trials, whilst also reminaing highly informed on both domestic and foreign policy.