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Sir Edwin Landseer online

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1849. The Free Church 92
Evening Scene in the Highlands 92

1850. Dialogue at Waterloo 93

1851. The Monarch of the Glen 94
Geneva 94
The last Run of the Season 94
Titania and Bottom 94
A Highlander in a Snowstorm 95
Lassie 95

1853. The Combat 95
Night 95
Morning 95
The Children of the Mist 95

1856. Saved 97

1857. Scene in Brae-mar 97
Rough and Ready 97
Uncle Tom and his Wife for Sale 97
The Maid and the Magpie 97
Deer browsing 98
Twa Dogs 98
Portrait of Sir Walter Scott 99

1859. Doubtful Crumbs 99
A kind Star 99
The Prize Calf 99

1860. Flood in the Highlands 100

1861. The Shrew tamed 103
The Fatal Duel 104
Scenes in the Marquis of Breadalbane’s Highland Deer Forest 104

1864. Man proposes, God disposes 105

1864. A Piper and a pair of Nutcrackers 106
Well-bred Sitters 106
The Connoisseurs 106
Déjeûner à la Fourchette 107
Adversity 107
Prosperity 107

1866. Lady Godiva’s Prayer 107
Mare and Foal 107
Odds and Ends 107

1867. Wild Cattle at Chillingham Park 108

1869. A Swannery invaded by Sea Eagles 108


Bell, Mr. Jacob, 56, 75

Boydell’s Shakespeare, 5

Byrne, William, 2

Christmas, Mr. T., 46

Cust, Sir Edward (letter from), 24

Fuseli, 42

Haydon, 32

Hayter, J., 30

Hunt, W. H., 19

Landseer, Charles, 14

“ John, 2-12

“ Thomas, 4, 13

Leslie, C. R., 30, 65

Lewis, C. G., 54

Macklin’s Bible, 6

Mackenzie, Mrs., 18, 59, 68

Meteyard, Eliza, 17

Potts, Miss, 6

Raphael’s Cartoons, 45

Redgrave, Mr. R. (Crit. &c.), 65, 72

Romilly, Peter, 1

“ Sir Samuel, 1

Ruskin, Mr. (Criticisms), 63, 73, 77, 88

Simpson, Mr. W. W. (letter to), 41

Smith, Sydney (anecdote of), 60

Vernon, Mr., 64

Wilkie, Sir David, 51

Wornum, Mr. R., 17



[1] An _Edition de luxe_, containing 14 extra plates from rare
engravings in the British Museum, and bound in Roxburgh style, may be
had, price 10_s._ 6_d._

[2] According to another and generally excellent authority that event
occurred in Lincoln eight years later.

[3] It is interesting to trace what may be called the technical
descent of these artists. Thus, Aliamet was a pupil of J. P. Le Bas,
who studied under Nicholas Tardieu, who learnt his art from Le Pautre
and Jean Audran. The master of the last was his uncle Gerard of the
same name, who, again, was instructed by his own father Claude and his
uncle, Charles Audran, all of them men in the foremost ranks of the
engravers. Charles, the first of the great family of “_graveurs_” named
Audran, formed his style upon that of Cornelius Bloemaert, a member
of another famous line of artists on metal, well known by his superb
plate of Guercino’s “St. Peter raising Tabitha from the Dead,” and
transcripts of Raphael’s, Titian’s, Parmigiano’s and his own father’s
(Abraham Bloemaert’s) pictures. Now, to trace the stream of skill a
little farther, and, it must be admitted, to find it getting shallow at
this point, let us add that Cornelius Bloemaert’s master was Crispin de
Pass, the younger, about whom centres the third family of engravers to
whom we have occasion to refer in this long line of tutorage. This De
Pass had a brother, William, who came to England, as also did a third
brother, Simon, the reproducer of so many “Van Dycks” and “Van Somers.”
Crispin de Pass the younger studied his craft under his father, Crispin
the elder, who had for a master Theodore Cuernhert, beyond whom, as he
was born in 1522, it is needless to carry our recollections, or trace
the art-genealogy of the instructor of John Landseer - who, almost three
hundred years after the line is first brought into sight here, taught
his sons Edwin, Charles, and Thomas.

[4] Boydell and Macklin maintained so close a rivalry that they
contended not only as publishers but by means of picture exhibitions,
the former as promoter of the “Shakespeare Gallery,” the latter as
proprietor of the “Gallery of the British Poets.” These exhibitions
contained originals of the engravings which both “patrons” published.

[5] A relation, probably, of the distinguished surgeon, one of whose
benevolent labours was that of trying to revive the hanged Dr. Dodd.
See Wraxall’s “Posthumous Memoirs,” 1836, ii. 28.

[6] This picture is now in the possession, says Mr. Tom Taylor in “Life
and Times of Sir Joshua Reynolds,” of Mr. Gosling, of Portland Place.

[7] Queen Anne Street East was the thoroughfare now called Langham
Street and Foley Street, and distinct from Queen Anne Street West,
where Turner lived, which retains its name. When Portland Place was
extended to Oxford Street, and the new thoroughfare became part of the
freshly made Regent Street, Foley House, which till then closed the
southern end of Portland Place, was removed. The gardens of this house
had separated Queen Anne Street West from Queen Anne Street East; the
latter extended to Cleveland Street, and when the changes in question
were complete, received the name of Foley Street, which it now bears
with the addition of Langham Street. The numbers have been altered. At
the back of the present 33, Langham Street is a fine large room with a
north light, used as a studio by Mr. Eyre Crowe, A.R.A. In regard to
Landseer’s birthplace see a note to Chapter II., below.

[8] This defect was the more remarkable because the French Academy,
on which the English one relied for some of its rules, as well as the
Academies of Milan, Venice, Florence and Rome, admitted engravers to
the highest grades. The effect of British narrowness was to drive
Woollett, Sharp, and Strange from the ranks of the Royal Academy,
and to evoke from the last of these noteworthy artists an important
criminatory tract called “An Inquiry into the Rise,” &c., “of the Royal
Academy of Arts,” 1775.

[9] “Diary,” &c., of H. C. Robinson, 1869, i. 505-6.

[10] Evidence before the Select Committee of the House of Commons on
Arts, &c., 1836. Question and Reply, No. 2046.

[11] “The Literary Gazette,” No. 1834.

[12] For this locality, see above. The number, 83 for 33, may or may
not be a misprint. On this point the testimony of Mrs. Mackenzie is
all-important, as conveyed thus to the author: - “The house in which
my brothers were born stands in the bend of Foley Street, not far
from Portland Street; and at the time my father lived in it there
was a long garden where the dog was kept. Among some old letters of
my mother’s I found the enclosed little note, showing that before my
father’s marriage he lived in Queen Ann Street, altered to Foley Street
afterwards, but not the same house, but a smaller one nearer Cleveland
Street, which house, when my father left, was occupied by Mr. F. Lewis,
father of John Lewis, who was born there. - Yours truly, EMMA MACKENZIE.”

[13] Mrs. Mackenzie (born Emma Landseer) has a capital drawing, made
in these fields, of a hollow oak, with horses gathered about it, and
standing gaunt and branchless in a field, which was doubtless executed
at the time in question, and from this tree, which still remains (1880).

[14] At South Kensington is a very interesting collection of early
drawings and etchings, of various dates, by Edwin Landseer. These
were, for the most part, presented to the nation with the Sheepshanks
Gift of Pictures and Drawings. Some of them, we believe, came with
the Vernon Gift, and many were undoubtedly for a considerable time in
the possession of Mr. Vernon before they passed into the hands of Mr.
Sheepshanks. In the Exhibition of Landseer’s works, held at the Royal
Academy in 1874, were several sketches executed when he was ten years
old. See No. 133, likewise Nos. 136, 139.

[15] It ought to be noted here that the Queen has a considerable
number of drawings by Sir E. Landseer, which, with examples from other
collections, have been carefully described by Mr. Cosmo Monkhouse, in a
richly illustrated work called “The Studies of Sir E. Landseer,” n. d.

[16] Mr. Algernon Graves’s excellent catalogue of the works of Sir E.
Landseer enumerates, under “Etchings,” p. 40, a class of examples of
this nature, the earliest instance of which is dated 1809, and appears
to be that named at the beginning of the next paragraph of our text as
“Heads of a Lion and Tiger.”

[17] The author is indebted to Sir Edward Cust for a correction of
statements on this head, made in a former edition of this work. As Sir
Edward’s letter is interesting on its own account, the reader will
accept it entire: -

“Leasowe Castle, near Birkenhead, Oct. 21, 1874.

“SIR, - I am induced to believe that you will thank me for pointing
out to you some errors in your ‘Memoirs of Sir E. Landseer’ in a
matter in which I am naturally well conversant.

“At page 32 you speak of ‘the etching of Mr. Thomas Landseer
of an Alpine mastiff of the great St. Bernard breed’ that had
been ‘imported to this country by a gentleman residing in the
neighbourhood of Liverpool,’ and by a note to this you refer to the
Exhibition at Spring Gardens in 1817 of ‘Brutus,’ the property of
W. H. Simpson, Esq., as following another and that is asserted to
be an earlier work of Landseer’s - ‘a mule’ in 1815.

“At page 60 you speak of ‘the magnificent dog to which we have
formerly referred’ as ‘the property of a gentleman in Liverpool or
a Mr. Bullock, having reference to the famous picture, ‘Travellers
in the Snow.’

“Without giving any opinion as to ‘the minor works of the painter,’
when ‘he was little more than an infant,’ of which of course I
know nothing, but I unhesitatingly claim a precedence of the dog
before the Mule and Pointer of W. H. Simpson, Esq., in 1815, as
well from the facts I will state as from the intercourse with
Sir Edwin Landseer himself. ‘The dog’ was the property of my
mother-in-law, who resided _here_, and who received it in 1814
from a Swiss gentleman who had obtained ‘Lion’ and another direct
from the Monastery of St. Bernard. You will perceive that Thomas
Landseer records, in his etching ‘from the drawing by his brother
Edwin, that he did it, _aged thirteen_;’ as he was born in 1802,
consequently, the etching was made in 1815. Now, Sir Edwin himself
told me that it was his _first work_, and of course could not
forget any of the circumstances; ‘that he met the dog in London
streets under the care of a man servant, whom he followed to Mrs.
L. W. Borde’s residence, who permitted him to make a sketch of
it.’ Your remark that the drawing was done by Sir Edwin when he
was nineteen years of age, and in the year 1821, is clearly a
mistake, for ‘Lion’ was never in London since 1815, and died in
1821. There were several litters of puppies in that interval, one
of which, a brindled dog that was named ‘Cæsar,’ is with ‘Lion’ in
the picture of ‘Travellers in the Snow,’ and I myself sold this one
at Tattersall’s, where he fetched thirty-five guineas at open sale,
but I never heard who bought him. The breed is now quite extinct.

“I had the pleasure of often speaking with Sir Edwin on this
subject, and he told me he had the original sketch somewhere, and
that if he could find it I should have it, but of course this was
some years ago.

“Yours truly,


[18] At Landseer’s sale, 1874, lot 316, “Old Brutus” realized 630_l._
It must not be forgotten that there are many pictures and studies which
bear the names of this dog, and that of his son, another “Brutus.” See

[19] In 1874 “A French Hog,” 1814, belonged to the late Mr. J.
Hogarth, who then owned another early picture of Sir Edwin’s, called
“British Boar,” 1814, which is doubtless the same as the “English Hog”
of the text; the animal belonged to Squire Western. As these works
were painted in 1814 and etched by E. Landseer in 1818, we have but
to remember the national circumstances of that period in order to
recognize them as political satires.

[20] The “H.” is always understood as indicating an Honorary
Exhibitor, in which capacity the young artist is thrice represented
in the catalogue of this the Academy Exhibition for 1815. See below.
“Queen Anne Street East” had become “Foley Street” between 1802 and
1815. Landseer, as his sisters tell me, was accepted as an “Honorary
Exhibitor” on account of his youth, which was supposed to preclude him
from being considered an artist in full.

[21] See “Autobiographical Recollections of the late C. R. Leslie,
R.A.” 1860, vol. ii. p. 44.

[22] At the Academy Exhibition, Winter, 1874, No. 144. was “Sir E.
Landseer when a Boy.” Drawn by J. Hayter, Esq. Pencil, J. Hayter, Esq.

[23] There appear to be doubts of the extent of E. Landseer’s
obligations to Haydon, and the terms employed by the former on this
subject (see his “Correspondence,” 1876, ii., p. 288) affirm that the
writer had been serviceable to Landseer in making him known, rather
than by direct teaching: - “I lent him my dissections from the lion,
which he copied, and when he began to show real powers, I took a
portfolio of his drawings to Sir George Beaumont’s one day at a grand
dinner, and showed them all round to the nobility when we retired to
coffee. When he painted his “Dogs,” I wrote to Sir George and advised
him to buy it.” “In short, I was altogether the means of bringing him
so early into notice. These things may be trifles, but when I see a
youth strutting about and denying his obligations to me, I may as
well note them down.” “His genius was guided by me.” Again, p. 318
of the same volume, Haydon averred: - “My influence upon English art
has certainly been radical. Edwin Landseer dissected animals under my
eye, copied my anatomical drawings, and carried my principles of study
into animal painting. His genius, thus tutored, has produced sound and
satisfactory results.” P. 472 of the same repeats the same claims,
and discriminates between the degree of instruction said to have been
given to the Landseers generally: - “This was the principle I explained
to my pupils; to Eastlake first, and to the Landseers and others
afterwards. To Edwin I lent my anatomical studies of the Lion, which
guided him to depict dogs and monkeys. Charles and Thomas, Bewick,
Harvey, Prentice, Lance, were all instructed in the same principle.” We
may add that Mrs. Mackenzie (born Landseer) still owns a human skeleton
which was prepared and articulated by her brothers, Thomas and Charles,
who occupied a studio at Blenheim Steps, Oxford Street, where they
dissected a “subject.”

[24] Forty years before these recollections of ours begin, Foley
Street, of the history of which we have already written, was
comparatively splendid, and inhabited by persons of distinction. Fuseli
had lived in Queen Ann Street East. The neighbourhood was much affected
by artists. Mulready had lodged in Cleveland Street, not far off;
Newman Street, always artistic, but now so dull and grimy, was then
thronged with painters and sculptors; Benjamin West had built himself
a gallery there; Stothard (at No. 28) and Banks were numbered among
its past, and then present inhabitants. A. E. Chalon was living at No.
71 in Great Titchfield Street; Shee was in Cavendish Square, in the
house which had been occupied by F. Cotes and G. Romney; Collins, who
was born in Great Titchfield Street, was then at 118, Great Portland
Street, and had a house in New Cavendish Street in 1815; Northcote
still worked in his gloomy den, 39, Argyll Street; and Edridge, then a
fashionable miniature-painter, was at 64, Margaret Street, Cavendish
Square; Constable at 63, Upper Charlotte Street, now 76, Charlotte
Street, next house on the north side to the church; W. Daniell resided
in Cleveland Street, No. 9. Thompson was at No. 11; James Ward at
6, Jackson at 7, Dawe at 22, and Howard at No. 5, in Newman Street;
Leslie, as well as Flaxman, in Buckingham Street, Fitzroy Square; the
former, with Allston, was at No. 8, the latter at No. 7; Hilton was
not remote, at 10, Percy Street; De Wint in the same house; James
Heath in Russell Place, Fitzroy Square, No. 15; Hazlitt, then painting
portraits in considerable numbers, lived at 109, Great Russell Street,
Bloomsbury. Even so early in the century as the period of which we
now write, some painters had flown to the then far west region of
Kensington; thus, Wilkie sought the quiet of Phillimore Gardens; and
Mulready had settled in the Gravel Pits on the Bayswater Road.

[25] See, on a later page of this volume, Mr. Ruskin’s criticism on
“Shoeing,” quoted with the account of the pictures painted in 1846.

[26] It has been stated, and probably with truth, that Edwin Landseer
obtained a medal, or a silver palette, from the Society of Arts, and at
an earlier date than that in question here. But as artists rarely set
much store on lay awards of similar kinds to this, it is only necessary
to mention this matter. Contributing a work in a competition like that
in view can hardly be classed with the act of exhibiting pictures in
the Royal Academy.

[27] It is amusing to see how Wilkie puts the Scotchman first in this
note, and of a piece with that story of his having, when a “hanger” of
one of the Royal Academy exhibitions, actually filled the “line,” or
best part of the whole wall-space in the best room, with pictures by
Scotch artists. This piece of injustice was too shameless to be allowed
to stand, so when Wilkie’s fellow “hangers” discovered the attempted
trick, he was told, “This will never do, we must change all this;” and
that was done. At another time Wilkie was observed to be carrying a
picture through the rooms, and trying to fix it into one place after
another, always proceeding from a good to a better position, until
attention was attracted by his earnestness, and the question asked, why
he was so anxious to promote the work in question. “Oh,” he replied,
with exquisite _sang-froid_, “It’s Geddes’s!”

[28] Etty’s pictures of this year were, 59, “The Blue Beetle;
Portraits:” 232, “Portrait of the Rev. W. Jay of Bath;” 320, “Ajax
Telamon;” and, 375, “A Study.”

[29] The “Elymas” was not one of the Cartoons exhibited in 1818, the
two shown in that year being “The Beautiful Gate” and “Christ’s Charge
to Peter.” “Elymas” appeared in 1817.

[30] At a later date, when appointments were given to Dyce and others
to superintend the Schools of Design, Haydon - who believed himself
not only the originator of all modern English movements for promoting
the Fine Arts, but the one competent authority respecting them - was
bitterly indignant that he was not invited to accept the directorship
of the new institution. He asserted the peculiar incompetence
of Dyce, and spoke very frankly of his colleagues. See Haydon’s
“Correspondence,” 1876, ii., p. 475. No doubt Haydon rightly estimated
his own powers in this respect; his real vocation was teaching, which
was at that time a faculty rarer than it is now, when we are by no
means overstocked with good teachers, practical or literary, in art. He
was never so happy as when giving technical counsel, or in lecturing;
his published “Lectures” are probably the most practical and potent of
their class.

[31] On Mr. Charles Christmas, Sir Edwin’s brother-in-law, see “Notes
and Queries,” 5th series, XII. 383. By this it appears that he was an
animal painter, who, discovering the superiority of E. Landseer in
that line, gave up the race. There were two brothers of this name,
Thomas and Charles, (see before). The latter was not a painter, but, we
believe, an architect.

[32] The phrase, “lay-element” is already, 1880, passing out of
recognition; when this book was formerly published it was in vogue, and
understood to refer to those gentlemen who were willing to share the
honours of the Royal Academicians; conferring, in return, the prestige
which was due to their “distinguished social position and love of art.”
These persons were the “lay-element” of the Commission of the Royal
Academy. See “Report,” 1864.

[33] Our readers will recollect that, owing to the protest of Sir Edwin
Landseer and others, the idiotic practice has abated of cropping from
dogs’ ears those flaps which kindly nature placed to keep earth from
the organs of earth-burrowing creatures.

[34] Since Landseer’s death this house and studio have been occupied by
Mr. H. W. B. Davis, R.A.

[35] This example of extraordinary facility in artistic work may
be paralleled, if not surpassed, by the feat which Smith, in his
“Nollekens,” ii. p. 143 relates of Sherwin, who engraved, in _four
days_ (!), the fine plate from the portrait of the Earl of Carlisle,
now at Castle Howard, by Romney. Sherwin engraved Mrs. (“Perdita”)
Robinson’s portrait at once upon the copper, without a drawing.

[36] “Art Journal,” where the picture is represented by an engraving.

[37] Mr. William Russell was Accountant-General of the Court of
Chancery, fourth son of Lord William Russell, who, May 6, 1840, was
murdered by B. E. Courvoisier, his valet.

[38] It has been said that many years ago the Queen and her Consort
made etchings after Landseer’s designs, especially from parts of
“Bolton Abbey.” Her Majesty and her Consort made at least a dozen
etchings from other works of Landseer’s. (See Mr. Algernon Graves’s
Catalogue, p. 41.) Speaking of copies of engravings from pictures by
our artist, it may be mentioned that many of foreign origin, including
a large proportion of piracies, have appeared; among these are,
repeatedly, “Bolton Abbey;” “Favourites” (1835), ponies belonging to
the Duke of Cambridge; “Dogs of the Great St. Bernard;” “Dignity and
Impudence;” “The Return from Hawking;” “Laying down the Law;” “The Lion
Dog of Malta;” “A distinguished Member of the Humane Society,” and “A
Jack in Office.”

[39] One of the finest and most pathetic of Mr. Ruskin’s criticisms
applies to this picture so happily that we ought to quote it
here: - “Take, for instance, one of the most perfect poems or pictures
(I use the words as synonymous) which modern times have seen - the
‘Highland Shepherd’s Chief Mourner.’ Here the exquisite execution of

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Online LibraryFrederick G. StephensSir Edwin Landseer → online text (page 10 of 11)