By Sir Edwin Landseer

By Sir Edwin Landseer R.A. (1802-1873)
In the Victoria and Albert Museum, South Kensington, London

It is said of Landseer that he discovered the dog. He was the first to study his intelligent face and eyes, and his faithfulness. Others had painted the dog's treachery, his bad tamper, his fondness for thieving, but Landseer showed him as the companion of man and the mourner of his loss. He showed the same insight into the intelligence and affection of other animals, but dogs were his speciality, and his pictures of them are the most popular, probably because their truth can be appreciated by everybody. He loved all animals, and he painted them so that the public loved them too. Whether he painted horses, sheep, or stags, or any other creatures, he showed them at their best, not in their meanness but rather in their nobility. Especially is this true of his stags, which are true monarchs of the glen, painted in the highland surroundings which were his happy hunting ground.

There is no doubt that a great measure of his popularity was obtained by sacrificing a certain amount of the higher artistic value. Landseer was apt to exaggerate the human interest in his animals by giving them a full measure of human intelligence. They are always on their best behaviour, always spick and span, and as often as not endowed with sentimental attractions which are unusual rather than inseparable from their animal character. In his later period, when his technique failed, he emphasised the interest of his pictures by providing titles which aroused curiosity, but this we can readily forgive him for the pleasure he gives us, and for his revelations of the lovable qualities of our canine friends and companions.

"Suspense" is considered by many to be Landseer's finest work. It shows a dog watching at his wounded master's closed door, and illustrates the artist's happy gift of suiting title to subject.

From the book "Famous Paintings" printed in 1913.

Large files of this public domain print are available at Stock Photos at Songs of Praise
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Online "Name the Painting"

Paintings by Landseer

Sir Edwin Henry Landseer
biography at Olga's Gallery

Sir Edwin Henry Landseer

Landseer sculpture
Lion at the base of Nelson's Column, Trafalgar Square

Famous Paintings in this Series

M. Bompard

A Prayer to the Madonna


The Madonna and Child

Sir Edward Coley

King Cophetua and the Beggar Maid

Sir Edward Coley

The Mill

Jean Charles Cazin


John Constable

Boat-Building Near
Flatford Mill

John Crome

On the Skirts of the Forest

Pascal Adolphe Jean

The Blessed Bread

Theophile Emanuel Duverger


C.W. Furse

Diana of the Uplands

W.H. Gore


Peter Graham

A Rainy Day

Jean Baptiste Greuze

The Listening Girl

Sir James Guthrie

A Highland Funeral

Frans Hals

A Man With a Glove
In His Hand

Hans Holbein the Younger

The Ambassadors

Henry Holiday

Dante and Beatrice

Sir Edwin Landseer


Sir Edwin Landseer

A Naughty Child

H.H. La Thangue

Mowing Bracken

Sir Thomas Lawrence

Caroline of Brunswick,
Queen of George IV.

G.D. Leslie

Sun and Moon Flowers

J. Seymour Lucas


Jean Louis Ernest

The Print Collector

Jean Francois Millet

The Angelus

Jean Francois Millet

Going to Work

Sir William Quiller

The Farmer's Daughter

Ralph Peacock



His Own Portrait

Sir Joshua Reynolds

The Infant Samuel

Sir Joshua Reynolds

The Strawberry Girl

George Romney

The Parson's Daughter

W. Dendy Sadler

A Good Story

W. Dendy Sadler


William Small

The Last Match

J.M. Swan

On the Alert,
Lioness and Cubs

J.M.W. Turner

Peace: Burial at Sea of the
Body of Sir David Wilkie

J.M.W. Turner

Rain Steam and Speed
The Great Western Railway


Portrait of a Spanish Lady
"La Femme a L'Eventail"

Frederick Walker

The Vagrants

George Frederick Watts


James McNeill Whistler

My Mother

Anders Zorn

A Fisherman

Index Page
Famous Paintings