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Sir Edwin Henry Landseer RA (1802 - 1873)


Landseer was an English painter, born in London, the son of the engraver John Landseer. Trained by his father to sketch animals from life, he began exhibiting at the Royal Academy when only 13. He was elected Associate of the Royal Academy in 1826 at only 24 years of age, and full Academician in 1831 when not yet 30.  One of my favourites is called "Arab Tent"

He became famous for his pictures of horses, dogs and stags, many of them later engraved by his brother Thomas Landseer.  In 1824, Landseer went to Scotland for the first time to visit Sir Walter Scott. Sir Walter wrote "Landseer's dogs were the most magnificent things I ever saw...". Animal portraits, and in particular, paintings and engravings of dogs, were a continuing theme of Landseer's. Many were of sheepdogs. 

Two of my favourites are "Collie rescuing a sheep" or "A Highland Shepherd's Dog" which shows a collie digging a sheep out of the snow and the very moving picture "The Old Shepherd's Chief Mourner", painted in 1837. It shows a black and tan shepherd's collie, lying with his chest pressed against the side of his dead master's coffin, his chin resting forlornly on the coffin lid that the black and white checked shepherd's plaid is draped across.  These paintings can be seen if you enter the term "Landseer" in the search box on the Victoria and Albert Museum's website.

The book Animals in Art has a picture of this fabulous painting on page 12. Here are two links to this book - one in Google Books where you can see the painting and a link to Amazon where its possible to buy the book.

To Link to "Animals in Art" on Google Books result click here

Landseer returned to Scotland every year for inspiration, drawing and hunting.

Landseer enjoyed royal patronage, especially in the 1840s when Queen Victoria and Prince Albert also discovered Scotland. He paid his first visit to their home in the north of Scotland, Balmoral Castle, in 1850 to paint a large group portrait of the Royal Family. He was knighted that year even though the painting was never finished.

In the 1860s he modelled the lions at the base of Nelson's Column in Trafalgar Square and these were unveiled in 1867. Landseer died in London on October 1873 and was buried in St Paul's Cathedral.

Here are some Landseer Prints available from Amazon :

Here is a print of Landseer modelling the statues of the lions in Trafalgar Square, London alongside a photographic print of the lions :



Another fabulous painting by Landseer "Study of a Horse" can be seen by clicking here. And there are also lots of Landseer paintings to be seen by clicking here.