The Old Shepherd's Chief Mourner thumbnail 1
The Old Shepherd's Chief Mourner thumbnail 2
Image of Gallery in South Kensington
On display at V&A South Kensington
British Galleries, Room 122

The Old Shepherd's Chief Mourner

Oil Painting
1837 (painted)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

Object Type
Oil paintings with sentimental scenes of animals became popular with collectors such as John Sheepshanks and the Rev. Chauncy Hare Townshend, as well as with the Victorian public in general.

Subjects Depicted
Landseer's choice of subject illustrates the Victorian obsession with the trappings of death, combined here with his speciality, the accurate and almost anthropomorphic representation of dogs and other animals. Its mixture of pathos and realism appealed to all sections of society, and the critic Ruskin praised the fine technique and the subtle choice of details. This painting was exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1837 and proved a great success, particularly as an engraving after this picture was published and sold widely in the following year.

People
Edwin Henry Landseer (1802-1873) was a child prodigy, exhibiting some drawings at the Royal Academy when he was only 13. From an early age he was a frequent visitor to the menagerie in Exeter Change in the Strand, London, where he drew lions, monkeys and other animals. Animals remained the main subjects of his art. Queen Victoria collected his paintings, as did John Sheepshanks. The two biggest collections of his work are in the Royal Collection and here in the Victoria and Albert Museum.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Oil on canvas
Brief Description
Oil painting entitled 'The Old Shepherd's Chief Mourner' by Edwin Henry Landseer. Great Britain, 1837.
Physical Description
In a sparsely furnished room, a dog rests its head on the coffin of its master, the shepherd.
Dimensions
  • Height: 45.7cm
  • Width: 61cm
  • Depth: 7cm
  • Framed height: 702mm
  • Framed width: 857mm
  • Framed depth: 68mm
Dimensions checked: Measured; 20/01/1999 by sf
Style
Gallery Label
British Galleries: This scene of the sentimental devotion of a dog won praise and popularity for its famous artist, Edwin Landseer. The animals he painted display human feelings and characteristics. One of the important aims of British art of the day was to illustrate sentiment and affection in paintings.(27/03/2003)
Credit line
Given by John Sheepshanks, 1857
Object history
Given by John Sheepshanks, 1857. By Sir Edwin Henry Landseer RA (born in London, 1802, died there in 1873)



Exhibited at the Royal Academy 1837
Subjects depicted
Summary
Object Type
Oil paintings with sentimental scenes of animals became popular with collectors such as John Sheepshanks and the Rev. Chauncy Hare Townshend, as well as with the Victorian public in general.

Subjects Depicted
Landseer's choice of subject illustrates the Victorian obsession with the trappings of death, combined here with his speciality, the accurate and almost anthropomorphic representation of dogs and other animals. Its mixture of pathos and realism appealed to all sections of society, and the critic Ruskin praised the fine technique and the subtle choice of details. This painting was exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1837 and proved a great success, particularly as an engraving after this picture was published and sold widely in the following year.

People
Edwin Henry Landseer (1802-1873) was a child prodigy, exhibiting some drawings at the Royal Academy when he was only 13. From an early age he was a frequent visitor to the menagerie in Exeter Change in the Strand, London, where he drew lions, monkeys and other animals. Animals remained the main subjects of his art. Queen Victoria collected his paintings, as did John Sheepshanks. The two biggest collections of his work are in the Royal Collection and here in the Victoria and Albert Museum.
Bibliographic References
  • Catalogue of British Oil Paintings 1820-1860, Ronald Parkinson, Victoria and Albert Museum, London: HMSO, 1990, pp. 143-44
  • Richard Ormond, Monarch of the Glen: Landseer in the Highlands. Edinburgh: National Galleries of Scotland, 2005.
  • 100 Great Paintings in The Victoria & Albert Museum. London: V&A, 1985, p.130
Collection
Accession Number
FA.93[O]

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record createdDecember 15, 1999
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