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Sir Edwin Henry Landseer RA was an English painter and sculptor.
He was born in Westminster, London on 7 March 1802. He was the son of John and Jane Landseer. His father was a well-known and successful engraver.
He was known as a prodigy and exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1815 at the age of 13. He was elected an Associate at the age of 24, and a full Academician just five years later in 1831, aged 29.
|The Hunting of Chevy Chase (1825)|
His early works were immediately noticed for their superb understanding of animal musculature and movement. In 1828, he was commissioned to produce illustrations for the Waverley Edition of Sir Walter Scott's novels. His critical and commercial success was immediate and complete.
In 1841, Edwin was living at 3 St John's Wood Road, just along the road from Lord's Cricket Ground. With him were his sister Jessica, his maternal aunt, Rebecca Potts and two servants. He gave his age as 35 though he was really 38. Both he and his sister were listed as 'Artist'. About this time he suffered a nervous breakdown. Struggles with mental stability marked the remainder of his life. It did not affect his work though which remains technically brilliant. He was knighted in 1850.
|Monarch of the Glen 1851|
His mature work was hugely popular and engravings of his paintings seemed to hang in every house in the realm.
In 1851, Sir Edwin was living at 3 St John's Wood Road, just along the road from Lord's Cricket Ground. Jessie was still there with him as was his aunt. There were by then five servants listed. He gave his age as 42 though he was really 48. He was listed as 'Member of the Royal Academy'.
In 1858 the government commissioned him to produce the Lions for Trafalgar Square. He agreed as long as he could take casts of real lions...
In the 1861 Census, Sir Edwin is not listed; perhaps he was abroad travelling. He was increasingly prone to recurring episodes of melancholy, hypochondria, and depression not helped by his use of alcohol and drugs. In 1866 he was elected President of the Royal Academy but he declined the invitation.
In 1867 his lions were finally installed in the square, delayed by his deteriorating health and arguments with the bronze caster.
In 1871, Sir Edwin was visiting a friend, John Gwyn at 'The Hollies', Hampton Road, Twickenham. He was listed as 'Artist Royal Academician'.
His family had him discreetly committed to a mental institution in 1872. He died on 1 October 1873. Landseer was the most popular artist of his time and his funeral was a state event: shops and houses lowered their blinds, flags flew at half mast, his bronze lions were hung with black wreaths, and large crowds lined the London streets to watch his funeral cortege pass.
He is buried in the crypt of St Paul's Cathedral, London.
One week after his death, his Will was proved. The record reads:
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Edwin is 31 degrees from Robert Beheathland, 29 degrees from Bartholomew Gosnold, 26 degrees from Thomas Graves, 29 degrees from Anne Laydon, 32 degrees from Alice Amoll, 28 degrees from Samuel Mathews, 33 degrees from Christopher Newport, 27 degrees from John Smith, 28 degrees from Nathaniel Tatum, 28 degrees from Temperance West, 29 degrees from Francis Wyatt and 33 degrees from Valerie Penner on our single family tree. Login to find your connection.
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Categories: Middlesex, Notables | Sculptors | Painters | English Artists | England Managed Profiles, Post-1700 | England, Notables | Notables