Page last updated at 11:04 GMT, Saturday, 29 November 2008

Christmas card painting auctioned

Sydney Drew of Lyon and Turnbull holds a painting by Scottish Painter Joseph Farquharson
Joseph Farquharson's Sheep Beneath Snow Encumbered Branches will be sold at auction

A painting which has been reproduced for one of the most popular Christmas card designs is to be sold at auction.

Scottish artist Joseph Farquharson painted Sheep Beneath Snow Encumbered Branches more than 100 years ago.

Jo Marchbank, of Hallmark Cards, said the picture, of sheep in a snowy field under a setting sun, was one of the company's most popular Christmas cards.

It will be auctioned by Lyon and Turnbull in Edinburgh on Wednesday and has been valued at 70,000.

Ms Marchbank said Farquharson created a "unique atmosphere" in his paintings.

"The dramatic yet subtle depiction of a winter landscape with a beautiful light bathing the scene from a setting sun," she said.

Farquharson, who was laird of a 20,000-acre Aberdeenshire estate, died in 1935 - aged 88.

It is thought he exhibited the painting at the Royal Academy in 1901.

The current owner bought it 40 years ago for 1,450.

It has been a popular Christmas card for about 30 years.

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