Sir Edwin Landseer

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SIR EDWIN LANDSEER, Engish (1802-1873)

Perhaps the finest animal portraitist of his generation, Sir Edwin Henry Landseer  (1802 - 1873) was one of Victorian Britain's favorite artists. His portraits of animals especially dogs are well loved.

An artistic prodigy and student of historical painter Benjamin Robert Haydon, Landseer's talent was immediately evident. Encouraged by Haydon to study animal anatomy, he held his first exhibit at the Royal Academy at the age of 13, and elected an Associate of the Academy at only 24. Just short of his 30th birthday in 1831, he was elected full Academician.

Much of Landseer's work is associated with the Scottish Highlands. He first visited the region in 1824, and the Highlands inspired many of his future works including the famous and majestic The Monarch of the Glen.His connection to Scotland connection also led him to Sir Walter Scott, who admired his work to such an extent that he chose Landseer as his personal illustrator for the Waverly editions of his novels.

By the 1830s, Landseer was an established artist with a broad, inclusive following among the aristocracy and middle class alike. His dog portraits enjoyed such popularity that the name "Landseer" became the official moniker for the mixed black and white variety of Newfoundland dog he depicted in many of his compositions. He was knighted by Queen Victoria in 1850. In 1867 he enjoyed the unveiling of what could be considered his most widely recognized work, the lions at the base of Nelson's Column in Trafalgar Square. He died in 1873 and was buried in St. Paul's Cathedral.

His originals may be seen in museums including the Tate, the Victoria and Albert Museum and the Royal Academy of Arts, while his engravings of dogs are especially prized by collectors.