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Drawing - The Letter

The Letter

  • Object:

    Drawing

  • Place of origin:

    Great Britain (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1830-1840 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Landseer, Edwin Henry (Sir), born 1802 - died 1873 (artist)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Black chalk with white and red chalk touches on paper

  • Credit Line:

    Presented through Art Fund by Professor Luke Herrmann (from the Bruce Ingram Collection)

  • Museum number:

    E.164-2002

  • Gallery location:

    Prints & Drawings Study Room, level H, case PD, shelf 312

Sir Edwin Landseer (1802-1873) was one of the most popular and successful painters of 19th-century Britain. He is best known as an animal painter, and his anatomical studies of animals, in addition to his exceptional gifts as a draughtsman, brought a great degree of accuracy to his drawings and paintings. Landseer often introduced a narrative element into his animal pictures, and his dogs in particular are often invested with anthropomorphic qualities.

Landseer was also in demand as a portrait painter, and indeed he was commissioned several times by Queen Victoria to produce portraits of herself and her family. This graceful chalk drawing of a woman reading a letter has not been connected to a particular portrait, although it is possible that it represents Georgiana, Duchess of Bedford, a close friend of the artist, who Landseer drew and painted on many occasions. Landseer often used unusual poses for his figure drawings. Although here the woman's face is turned away, her elegant posture combined with her absorption in the letter she holds combine to make an expressive portrait.

Physical description

Sketch in black, white and red chalk of a woman with her back to the viewer reading a letter.

Place of Origin

Great Britain (made)

Date

ca. 1830-1840 (made)

Artist/maker

Landseer, Edwin Henry (Sir), born 1802 - died 1873 (artist)

Materials and Techniques

Black chalk with white and red chalk touches on paper

Dimensions

Height: 29 cm, Width: 22.9 cm

Object history note

Presented through The Art Fund by Professor Luke Herrmann (from the Bruce Ingram Collection)

Descriptive line

Drawing by Sir Edwin Landseer of a woman reading a letter, ca.1830-1840

Labels and date

Edwin Landseer 1802-1873
Woman Reading a Letter
About 1840

Landseer is best known for his paintings of animals, and the V&A has an important collection of his work.This elegant life study is one of four drawings given by the art historian Luke Herrmann.

Black and white chalk on paper
Presented through the National Art Collections Fund
by Professor Luke Herrmann (from the Bruce Ingram
Collection) 2002.
Museum no.E.164-2002 [October 2003]

Materials

Chalk

Techniques

Drawing

Categories

Drawings

Production Type

Unique

Collection

Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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