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had been before accomplished; and that it was not by the study of
Raphael that he attained his eminent success, but by a healthy love of
Scotch terriers.” Undoubtedly Landseer learned next to nothing from
Raphael. In the next chapter we shall show that he enjoyed facilities
for studying the “Cartoons,” _i.e._ those examples of Raphael’s art
which are greatest in style. By means of the Elgin marbles Landseer was
imbued with that care for style which distinguished his best works, from
“Fighting Dogs,” to the “Swannery Invaded,” one of his earlier, and one
of his later pictures.

[Illustration]




[Illustration]

CHAPTER III.

A.D. 1818 TO A.D. 1824.

A FULLY-DEVELOPED PAINTER - FIGHTING DOGS - “THE CAT’S PAW” - FIRST VISIT
TO THE HIGHLANDS.


Having now brought our artist to the verge of his career; shown the
course of his studies; and indicated that quality of his genius which
seems to have been most effective in making him what he was, we have
next to set forth, in chronological order, some of his more remarkable
works, and to describe their production as we should relate the history
of special incidents in the life of a man of action. In one sense
pictures are the actions of a great artist: he lives in them, and his
life is of them.

We said that the first exhibited works of Edwin Landseer, “Portrait of a
Mule,” and “Portraits of a Pointer Bitch and Puppy,” were sold with the
collection of Mr. Simpson, the artist’s early friend;[26] the next
painting that comes into notice is the portrait of “Brutus,” the
property of the same gentleman, which was exhibited in 1817. This was,
we believe, the little circular picture originally intended for the top
of a snuff-box, and representing the head of a dog in full face, or
nearly so, which was afterwards very finely engraved in 1818 by Mr. T.
Landseer; the print styled “Old Brutus.” “Brutus” is depicted with a
grizzled muzzle, ears not closely cropped, and having eyes expressing
habits of consideration, as if he had seen the world and profited by
experience; a hawk’s bell hangs beneath his chin. After the wont of dogs
and men, this “wise and venerable” “Brutus” had a son, another “Brutus,”
who became a very much-favoured and frequent model of Landseer’s; the
animal was a gift from Mr. Simpson to the painter.

This son “Brutus,” whom we must, for distinction’s sake, call the second
of the name, whose portrait appears in an early “Sportsman’s Magazine,”
was a rough-hided, very sagacious-looking white dog, with a short tail,
and signs, so far as strangers were concerned, of a shorter temper. Thus
we judge by his portrait, as it was taken, whole canine generations
since “Brutus II.” appeared. The picture was engraved by Mr. T.
Landseer, having its scene in a stable, the floor of which is strewn
with straw; a pipe and a bone are there to tell their tales. The canine
inmate is a wiry-looking creature, tough, and light in limb, yet,
withal, having every muscle instinct with life, and in courage such as
makes him anything but loth to begin a combat. He has seemingly heard,
or smelt, for he cannot yet see, the approach of a stranger of his own
kind, whose muzzle is visible to us by means of the stable door being a
few inches ajar, “with the chain up,” as folks say. This stranger is a
representative of that ill-conditioned race, the bull-dog breed - the
so-called “bull-poop” - much loved by Staffordshire colliers, whose
wives, such is the local legend, are not seldom known to suckle the
“poop” with the baby; although the former is, out of the Black Country,
much abhorred by many men and dogs. Of the latter class, “Brutus II.” is
evidently one, and we may thank the chain of the stable-door for keeping
the animals apart; but for this, there would have been a dire
“scrimmage” between the champions. We believe the same plate which
supplied “The Sportsman’s Magazine” with this capital illustration was
again used for the collected series of “engravings” before referred to
from the works of our artist. The print is one of the most masculine
specimens of its kind, and full of spirit and character. Edwin Landseer
made a great pet of “Brutus II.,” taught him tricks, and very often
painted him.

In the Anderdon Collection of Royal Academy Catalogues, which is now in
the Print Room, British Museum, is a copy of a letter, formerly in the
possession of Dawson Turner, which is characteristic of a young artist,
and, as referring to this important picture of “Brutus,” may well find a
place here. It was, no doubt, directed to Mr. W. W. Simpson: -

“Foley Street, Aug. 12, 1818.

“DEAR SIR, - I must beg to apologize for detaining the pictures so
long, but hope you will now receive them safe, and that you will
like the ‘Brutus,’ as it has generally been admired, and thought
the best thing I have done on so small a scale. I am exceedingly
obliged to you for your kind invitation, but am doubtful whether I
shall be able to avail myself of the pleasure this season.

“I remain,

“Yours truly,

“EDWIN LANDSEER.

“P.S. I shall get on with your other picture as fast as possible. I
think you left the subject to my choice.”

At the foot of the paper is a sketch of a greyhound chasing a hare,
designed with great spirit. To this the following memorandum refers: “I
don’t mean this for the subject.” The signature comprises the usual
flourish which accompanied Landseer’s autograph; the handwriting is very
neat and clear.

The “Portrait of Brutus” showed a white dog, lying at the full length of
his chain, near a red earthenware dish. It is very small; and was sold,
with the pictures of Sir John Swinburne, June, 1861, for seventy
guineas. The bidding began at five guineas, and rose by one guinea at a
time.

It will be observed that we are now writing of Edwin Landseer as an
accomplished artist; yet, strange as it may seem, it is true that only
the year before this picture of “Brutus” was exhibited, he was admitted
a student in the Royal Academy. This is generally considered one of the
earlier steps in an artistic career. So much, however, did our artist
differ from most students, that he was an exhibitor before entering the
Academy, and his progress had been carefully recorded in one of the
periodicals of the day.

There is a pleasant story told of Fuseli, the Keeper, and Landseer’s
entry to the Academy as a student, then a bright lad, with light curling
hair, and a very gentle, graceful manner, and much manliness withal. He
was a diligent student; and Fuseli would look round the room for him,
and, alluding to the picture of “Brutus,” exhibited that year, say,
“Where is my little _dog boy_?”

In the year 1817 was exhibited the “Portrait of an Alpine Mastiff,”
which we have noticed while giving an account of early drawings and
etchings by and after Edwin Landseer. This drawing, and two others, were
exhibited with works by the Society of Painters in Oil and Water
Colours, at the gallery in Spring Gardens. It is doubtless that which
has been engraved by Mr. T. Landseer in 1818.

The year 1818 is noteworthy as constituting an important epoch in the
life of our artist. He then produced a picture from which the present
height of his reputation might have been predicted. This appeared at the
before-mentioned exhibition of the Society of Painters in Oil and Water
Colours, Spring Gardens, entitled “Fighting Dogs getting Wind” (No.
140); it excited an extraordinary amount of attention. The work was
purchased by Sir George Beaumont, and this fact was accepted as giving a
stamp of the higher order of distinction to the artist, who immediately
rose in fame, and became “the fashion,” in a way in which those persons
will easily realize who have read Haydon’s account of his own and
Wilkie’s positions in the world under similar circumstances.

Here is a criticism on “Fighting Dogs getting Wind,” from “The
Examiner,” p. 269, 1818, in a review of the exhibition of the Society of
Painters in Oil and Water Colours. After refering

[Illustration: _Return from Deer Stalking._]

to the merits of certain landscapes which commanded the critic’s
admiration, we are told, “Their pictures alone would elevate the
character of this Exhibition; but when we add the ‘_Fighting Dogs
getting Wind_,’ by our English SCHNEIDERS, young Mr. E. LANDSEER, and
the masterly Drawings and Paintings by Mr. HAYDON, we give overflowing
evidence of the justness of our preference of this Exhibition. It
behoves the Keeper of the room to be careful how he admits any animals
of the same species before the ‘_Fighting Dogs_,’ when we recollect the
exciting effect which a ‘_Mastiff_’ by this young Animal Painter had
last year upon a canine judge admitted to the room. We hope that E.
LANDSEER will not deviate from his large touch into a littleness of
style. His may be called the great style of Animal Painting, as far as
it relates to the execution and colour; and the natural, as far as it
concerns their portraiture. Did we see only the Dog’s collar, we should
know that it was produced by no common hand, so good is it, and palpably
true. But the gasping, and cavernous, and redly-stained mouths, the
flaming eyes, the prostrate Dog, and his antagonist standing exultingly
over him, the inveterate rage that superior strength inflames but cannot
subdue, with the broad and bright relief of the objects, give a
wonder-producing vitality to the canvas.” The writer was evidently
deeply moved. It is impossible to refrain from smiling at the thought
that Leigh Hunt’s, or his brother’s, influence in respect to “The
Examiner” was thus represented with regard to pictures by their friend
Haydon and Edwin Landseer. The painting is still at Coleorton; it was
No. 422, in the Royal Academy Winter Exhibition of 1874. It has not been
engraved.

Of one of Landseer’s contributions to the Royal Academy in 1818 Wilkie
thus wrote to Haydon: “Geddes has a good head.[27] Etty has a clever
piece, and young Landseer’s jackasses are also good.”[28] The picture
thus referred to as by Landseer is styled “Portrait of a Donkey.”
Wilkie’s memory tricked him about it, but his testimony of admiration is
valuable. In these days the British Institution received superior
attention from Landseer: and the Academy gatherings - where, however, his
_début_ was made - rarely contained his more important productions.

Lady Charles Wellesley has a picture of this year, a thoroughly
characteristic example of Landseer’s then current mode, which was
mounted for the Hon. H. Pierrepoint, but not sent home, and when
inquired for could not be found. It is called “White Horse in a Stable.”
In 1842, many years after its disappearance, the work was discovered in
a hayloft, where it had been hidden by a dishonest servant, and was sent
by Sir Edwin with a letter to Mr. Pierrepoint, stating that the white
horse “was the first of that complexion I ever painted,” and that he had
not retouched it, thinking “it better when my early style unmingled with
that of my old age.” In answer to a question as to price, he mentioned
that the sum he was accustomed to receive at the time of painting this
picture was Ten Guineas: see the Royal Academy Winter Exhibition
Catalogue, 1874, p. 24.

In 1818 a satirical print was published in Elmes’s “Annals of the Fine
Arts,” representing Haydon and his pupils drawing from Raphael’s
Cartoon of “Elymas struck blind,”[29] which, as Haydon boasted, had by
his means been brought to London and placed for the use of artists in
the British Institution. This print is a rough etching, and entitled “A
Master in the Grand Style & his Pupils;” it represents the interior of
the gallery with three enormous canvases placed before the Cartoon,
besides a smaller one and a portfolio, at which last a boy is drawing
one of the heads on our right of Raphael’s work. Five copyists are busy,
two of whom are identified by their portraits and inscriptions on their
canvases, as, 1, Bewick, a “romantic” looking youth, who assumes “the
grand style” of drawing, pressing his lips together demonstratively
after the fashion of poor Haydon himself, while he steps backwards on
the rickety platform and draws at arm’s length, sustaining his right
elbow with his left hand; his inner mind is evidently divided between
his studies and concern for his personal appearance, which is intended
to be more than commonly beautiful by means of long curled locks tucked
behind his ears, and a falling shirt-collar; his boots are of the
smallest. The next artist, 2, is Thomas Christmas, one of Haydon’s
pupils, wearing very big boots, his hair and collar being similar to
those of his neighbour. The figures working at the smaller canvases on
our left do not concern us here; but the portrait of a lad, who, perched
on a ladder, measures with a pair of compasses the features of one of
the faces in Raphael’s work is important, as it probably represents
Edwin (see below) or Charles Landseer, the younger two of Haydon’s
pupils, in the figure of a modest-looking, neatly-dressed boy. In the
air is Haydon, wearing his broad-brimmed hat and spectacles, busily
flying about as a bird and blowing his own trumpet as “Director of the
Public Taste.”[30]

The joke is heightened by the publication line of the print stating that
it was “Published for the Annals of the Fine Arts, No. 8, by Sherwood,
Neely & Jones, Paternoster Row, April 1, 1818.” In this Journal it
appeared with a long letter animadverting on Haydon and his pupils. If
anybodies’ merits were certain to be recorded in Elmes’s “Annals,” they
were those of Haydon and his pupils; but the editor, in order, as he
stated, to show his impartiality, did not hesitate to publish the satire
on his friends; he was doubtless assured that there was nothing Haydon
enjoyed so much as notoriety. “Mr. E. Landseer” is named with his
brother in the “Annals,” for 1818, p. 360, as among those who drew in
chalk from the Cartoon of “The Beautiful Gate.” According to the
“Annals,” ii. 433, the brothers, Thomas and Charles, drew the lictors
and the figure of Elymas in the “Elymas struck blind” in 1817.[31]

Some of these drawings were exhibited by Haydon, 1819, in Pall Mall.
“Messrs. Thomas Christmas and the two Landseers have taken their
canvases to the Academy (British Institution), to make drawings from the
Ananias,” &c., so says the “Annals,” No. 6, p. 436; and there seems to
have been a tolerably unwise squabble about the pupils of Haydon and
their drawings from this cartoon. (See pp. 442-3 of the same volume.)

“The Cat disturbed” was a picture of the year 1819, contributed to the
British Institution, and afterwards engraved with the title of “The
Intruder.” It, we believe, reappeared at the Gallery of the Society of
British Artists in 1826, with the title of “The intrusive Visitor,” and
represents a cat hunted to a high place in a stable by a dog, into whose
quarters she had ventured. This was probably the work belonging to Sir
C. Coote, of which Dr. Waagen wrote, in complete harmony with the
opinion intimated in these pages, that Landseer at an early stage
painted with greater solidity than in later days. It is now in the
possession of Sir Philip de Malpas Egerton. Dr. Waagen says, “This
picture exhibits a power of colouring” - by this he doubtless meant depth
of tone, for colouring is simply out of the question in Landseers’s
art - “and a solidity of execution recalling such masters as Snyders and
Fyt.” Here we may as well say that no one has a true and complete, or
even a satisfactory, notion of the spirit and vigour of our painter’s
powers at this time unless he has studied these triumphs. They possess
qualities not discoverable in his later works, but, of course, lack
extraordinary merits which predominated when he grew older.

The preference often exhibited by Landseer for the British Institution
appeared strongly in 1820, when a picture, which had been much talked
about in professional circles, was shown at the gallery in Pall Mall,
and attracted more admiration than the foregoing works. This was the
famous “Alpine Mastiffs re-animating a distressed Traveller,” afterwards
engraved by John Landseer, and due to studies of the magnificent dog of
St. Bernard, to which we have referred as the property of “a gentleman
of Liverpool,” according to the catalogue of the Spring Gardens gallery
of 1817. This picture now belongs to Mr. S. Addington. (See below on the
Exhibition in 1835 of “A Sleeping Bloodhound,” now at South
Kensington.)

It must not be supposed that Landseer, so young as he was, produced
small pictures only; on the contrary, the British Institution contained
two paintings, one of which measured six feet by seven feet six inches;
while its companion, “A Lion disturbed at his Repast,” was six feet by
eight feet, “landscape way,” as artists say; _i.e._ the longer dimension
was horizontal. At the same gathering appeared “A Lion enjoying his
Repast.” We have observed Landseer with his brothers copying parts of
the Cartoons of the same sizes as the originals. At this
period - 1821 - he exhibited at the British Institution “The Seizure of a
Boar,” with life-sized figures, which belongs to the Marquis of
Landsdowne; it is full of action and worthy of the artist’s rising fame.
We believe it has not been engraved. Haydon’s advice had been
adopted - large works were undertaken, and a lion was dissected. An
opportunity for the latter study occurred through the death of a lion in
the Exeter Change Menagerie; this chance was seized, and the results
were several lion pictures, as the above, and “A prowling Lion,” which
was at the Royal Academy Exhibition of 1822.

After these, lion subjects were not produced for a considerable time;
opportunities for anatomizing such costly and rare animals as lions do
not often occur; yet, as we may presently observe, our artist was at a
later day fortunate in obtaining at least one other chance of this kind.
The history of this matter, and an anecdote respecting it, are narrated
further on.

In 1821 the progress of our subject was continued with rapidity and
honour. The pictures of that year were, at the Royal Academy,
“Ratcatchers,” which is now at Lambton Castle, the property of the Earl
of Durham, and may be taken to illustrate Landseer’s admirable inventive
powers at this period, although it is by no means the most important of
his productions of the kind and date. Three dogs are in an old barn, and
as if they had gone wild with passion and anxiety, because a fourth,
whose extreme latter end is visible, is “scurrying” rats in depths below
the broken floor of the

[Illustration: _The Highland Mother._]

place. His tail gives expressive signals of excitement and rage, and,
beyond all misunderstanding, indicates his furious desire to get at his
foes. It is but slight comfort to the eager creatures that several of
their enemies are already stretched on the floor, or that a living rat,
half conscious of impending doom, springs and dances at the wires of a
trap near his dead brethren - he is at once confined and fortified in
bars of iron. A maltster’s shovel, birch broom, old cart-harness, traces
of cart-gear, a bottle, and stray wisps of straw, litter the ground and
aid the composition. This composition, as regards the dogs, is worthy of
admiration. The three entirely visible dogs, may be described as
follows: A big white terrier, in whom one fancies the “Brutus” of former
pictures, plunges and “scurries” round the hole where the sunken comrade
is at work; he grovels with his nose near the floor, and thrusts his
head and chest forward in fierce action; his jaws are set, and his
breath goes quickly in and out of his nostrils; his ears are thrown to
the front as if to listen for squeaks in the region of the rafters; his
eyes protrude and glitter with ravenous desire; his fore feet are spread
widely apart, and his hind legs thrust far behind. The _chiaro scuro_ is
disposed so that the white body of this dog is the chief object; the
light falls powerfully on him, so that his colour aids the effect in the
manner of the great masters of _chiaro scuro_ - which is much more than
mere “light and shade” in the common sense of that term. Behind, - with a
white mark, like a splash of chalk on the back of his head and between
his ears, his figure coming above that of the last-named animal, - squats
on his haunches a black dog of less demonstrative but equally excitable
temperament; his back is arched in a bow, he quivers, and bends his head
over the searching terrier with an eager gaze that is very finely
expressed. He seems to whimper now and then; but “Brutus,” if it be he,
yelps, snaps, barks, and almost howls in his ardour. One sees that if
the hole were big enough to admit the bigger dog he would swiftly pull
out the pioneer and go in himself, confident in his own resources, in
an emergency like this; but with all this valour he has discretion
enough to know that the hole would never admit a bulky carcass like his
own, and that the sole chance for him consists in the possibility that a
rat may appear at some apparently unguarded crevice, or, delirious with
fear, rush between the legs of the half-buried hunter. Farthest off is a
smaller and younger terrier, who has the air of an amateur or
representative of the “lay-element” of rat-catching.[32] This dog sits
in a formal, affected manner, his ears are uncropped and hang like
lappels[33] quaintly above his head, with no unapt likeness to the
decorations on a cap of a fool of the Middle Ages. This is a younger
dog, and as eager as his fellows, although less impressionable. The joys
of rat combating are as yet untasted by him, or he may be the
_dilettante_ he seems. This picture was, like many more by Landseer,
engraved by his brother Thomas; it was published in 1823.

In the same year 1821, which produced the “Ratcatchers” for the Royal
Academy, the British Institution was enriched with a picture that was
engraved for “The Sporting Magazine,” or “Annals of Sporting,” and
styled “Pointers To-ho!” The background shows a long level landscape,
which is evidently a piece of nature; two pointers stand in the front,
at the “foot” of the picture; behind them is a man with a gun: it is a
thoroughly “sporting picture,” and as true to life as it is possible to
be. A pen and ink sketch for “To-ho!” was sold at the artist’s sale, May
11, 1874, for twenty guineas. Of Landseer’s paintings of this year at
the British Institution, Wilkie wrote to Sir George Beaumont, who was
interested as the purchaser of a former picture: “Ward, Etty, Stark,
Crome, and Landseer are successful, but in no great work.”

The year 1822 was to be marked with a white stone in the annals of a
young artist like Edwin Landseer, because he then received the premium
of one hundred and fifty pounds from the Directors of the British
Institution for “The Larder invaded,” which was contributed to this
exhibition of that date. In the same year Mr. George Jones, R.A., late
Keeper of the Royal Academy, obtained two hundred pounds in
acknowledgment of the merit of his “Battle of Waterloo.” In 1821, John
Martin received two hundred pounds on account of his “Belshazzar’s
Feast.” As to Martin, there is a story, originally told by himself, to
the effect that he contributed a picture to the Royal Academy in 1812,
and before sending it, and while washing his brushes in an adjoining
room, had the pleasure of hearing the framemaker’s men dispute as to
which was the top and which the bottom of the painting. This work is one
of Martin’s finer productions, the poetical “Sadak in search of the
Waters of Oblivion.”

In 1822, our painter likewise contributed “The watchful Sentinel” to the
British Institution. This picture is in the possession of Mr. Chapman,
of Manchester, and represents a large black dog watching packages by a
road side; a post-chaise is in the distance.

There is an interesting passage in a letter by Wilkie to Sir George
Beaumont, dated from No. 24, Lower Phillimore Place, 14th February,


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