(Born London, 7 March 1802 or 1803; died London, 1 October 1873). English painter, sculptor, and engraver, mainly of animal subjects. He was the son of an engraver and writer, John Landseer (1769–1852), and was an infant prodigy. His career was a story of remarkable social as well as professional success: he was the favourite painter of Queen Victoria (who considered him ‘very good looking although rather short’) and his friends included Dickens and Thackeray. The qualities in his work that delighted the Victorian public, however, subsequently caused his reputation to plummet, for although he had great skill in depicting animal anatomy, he tended to humanize his subjects to tell a sentimental story or point a moral. His most familiar works in this vein include The Old Shepherd's Chief Mourner (1837, V&A, London), Dignity and Impudence (1839, Tate, London), and The Monarch of the Glen (1850, Diageo plc).

Text source: The Oxford Dictionary of Art and Artists (Oxford University Press)

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