L a - b e a u t é - s a u v e r a - l e - m o n d e ~ D o s t o ï e v s k i

L a - b e a u t é - s a u v e r a - l e - m o n d e  ~  D o s t o ï e v s k i

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Victoria and Albert's pets, portraits by Edwin Landseer

Hector, Nero, and Dash, with the parrot, Lory, 1838.

Sir Edwin Landseer was the favorite artist of the Queen and Prince Albert in the the early years of their marriage.  Never actually very good at portraits of people - he would soon be supplanted in that role by the fluent and prolific Winterhalter - he had a very great gift for painting animals; the softness and liquidity of his brushwork was perfectly designed to capture the glossy coat of a dog or a bird or a stag.

Hector and Nero.
Dash and Lory.
Dash, 1836.  I recently wrote about Victoria's beloved spaniel, here.
Tilco, a Sussex spaniel, and Islay, a Skye terrier, with a macaw and two lovebirds, 1839.
"Windsor Castle in Modern times; Queen Victoria, Prince Albert and Victoria, Princess Royal", 1841-43.
  Islay, Dandy Dinmont, and Eos.  (Cairnach is out of frame, to the left.)
Cairnach, a Skye terrier, 1842.
Lory, 1837-38.
Eos, Prince Albert's favorite greyhound, 1841.
I love that the cane handle is in the shape of a dog.
His master's hat and gloves.


Sir Edwin Henry Landseer RA (7 March 1802, London – 1 October 1873, London), English painter, best known for his paintings of animals, he also designed the lion sculptures for the base of Nelson's Column in Trafalgar Square.

The son of an engraver, he was something of a prodigy; he first exhibited at the Royal Academy at the age of thirteen.  Landseer studied under several artists, including his father and the history painter Benjamin Robert Haydon.  He worked for Princess Victoria before her accession and before her marriage, but some of the most important royal commissions came after the latter event.  Landseer was a notable figure in nineteenth-century British art, and his work was greatly popular with the public.  Much of his fame - and his income - was generated by the publication of engravings of his work, many of them by his brother Thomas.

In his late thirties he had what is now believed to have been a severe nervous breakdown, and for the rest of his life he suffered recurring bouts of depression and hypochondria, often aggravated by alcohol and drug use.  In the last few years of his life Landseer's mental health was extremely unstable and, at the request of his family, he was declared insane in 1872; he died the following year at the age of seventy-one.  There was much official and public display of mourning at his death, and large crowds turned out to watch his funeral cortège pass.  He was laid to rest in St. Paul's Cathedral.


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