Oil on canvas
This unusual painting is the work of Canterbury Province’s first architect. He painted in oils throughout his long life. The Akaroa Museum has several of his works and the Lyttelton Times in 1856 acclaimed the merits of a panoramic view of Akaroa Town and Harbour. In the 1890s, after his retirement as an architect, Farr returned to painting. On the evidence of the title label on the back of the frame of this work it is likely that the painting was begun early in his career in 1850 and completed after his retirement in 1893. Farr arrived in Christchurch in April 1850 — before the planned settlement of the province began.
He spent twelve years in Akaroa proving to be an adaptable and versatile colonist before moving to Christchurch where he embarked on an architectural career. His success in competitions helped establish his practice and his involvement in a wide variety of church and civic activities introduced him to an expanding circle of influential clients. While his buildings were not outstanding they were highly esteemed by his contemporaries. His most noted surviving building is the 1873–76 former Normal School, Cranmer Square, now Cranmer Court apartments.