“London sporting, animal and portrait painter, and sculptor. Son of John Landseer,
an engraver. As a boy, Landseer was fond of drawing animals; entered Royal Academy
Schools at age of fourteen. Encouraged by B. R. Haydon, he studied dissection and
anatomy to perfect his knowledge of animals. Elected Associate of the Royal Academy
in 1826, and to the Royal Academy in 1831. In 1834 paid first of many visits to Highlands.
His many pictures of Highland animals and sporting scenes helped to establish the
vogue for Scottish subjects. Queen Victoria was a great admirer of Landseer’s work.
She owned a large number, and also commissioned him to paint her dogs. Also painted
portraits, and designed sculpture; commission to model the bronze lions in Trafalgar
Square. Exhibited 1815-73 at the Royal Academy, British Institution, Society of British
Artists, Suffolk Street, and Old Watercolour Society. Knighted in 1850. Enormous
numbers of engravings were made after his works, which greatly increased their popularity.
Although a brilliant painter of animals, Landseer pandered to the Victorian taste
for monkey pictures, comical dogs, and excessive sentiment. For this reason some
of his pictures find little favour today, but his sketches and drawings are much
appreciated for their wonderful observation and superb brushwork. Landseer’s last
years were marred by depression and illness. In 1865 he was offered Presidency of
the RA, but refused. In 1874 an exhibition of his work was held at the Burlington
House, and another in 1961. After his death, his studio sale was held at Christie’s
on 8 May 1874.”
(Biographical source: Wood, Christopher. The Dictionary of Victorian Painters.)