Image of Gallery in South Kensington
On display at V&A South Kensington
Paintings, Room 82, The Edwin and Susan Davies Galleries

Deer at Dawn near Munich

Oil Painting
ca. 1850-ca. 1854 (painted)
Place of origin

Schleich studied the subtle treatment of light and skies in 17th-century Dutch paintings. With that in mind, he carefully depicted in this work, timid deer, the effects of dawn and the morning light reflected in the shallow pools. A critic who saw the painting between 1854 and 1856 praised its 'great feeling for nature and truth of effect'.

Object details

Object type
TitleDeer at Dawn near Munich (popular title)
Materials and techniques
oil on canvas
Brief description
Oil painting, 'Deer at Dawn near Munich', Eduard Schleich, ca. 1850-1854
Physical description
Oil painting
  • Estimate height: 30.5cm
  • Estimate width: 62.2cm
  • Frame width: 79.5cm
  • Frame height: 48.4cm
  • With frame weight: 6.5kg
Dimensions taken from Catalogue of Foreign Paintings, II. 1800-1900, C.M. Kauffmann, Victoria and Albert Museum, London, 1973
Marks and inscriptions
'Ed. Schleich' (Signed by the artist, lower left)
Credit line
Bequeathed by Rev. Chauncey Hare Townshend
Object history
Bought by the Rev. C. H. Townshend before 1854-56, when it was seen in the dining room of his London house by G.F. Waagen. Listed in the 1868 post-mortem register of the contents of Townshend's London house (V&A R/F MA/1/T1181) in the library as by E. Schleich; Bequeathed by Rev. Chauncey Hare Townshend.

Ref : Parkinson, Ronald, Catalogue of British Oil Paintings 1820-1860. Victoria & Albert Museum, HMSO, London, 1990. p.xix.

'Chauncy Hare Townshend (1798-1868) was born into a wealthy family, only son of Henry Hare Townsend of Busbridge Hall, Godalming, Surrey. Educated at Eton and Trinity Hall, Cambridge (BA 1821). Succeeded to the family estates 1827, when he added 'h' to the Townsend name. He had taken holy orders, but while he always referred to himself as 'Rev.' on the title pages of his books, he never practised his vocation... . Very much a dilettante in the eighteenth-century sense, he moved in the highest social and literary circles; a great friend of Charles Dickens (he was the dedicatee of Great Expectations) with whom he shared a fascination of mesmerism... Bulwer Lytton described his life's 'Beau-deal of happiness' as 'elegant rest, travel, lots of money - and he is always ill and melancholy'. Of the many watercolours and British and continental oil paintings he bequeathed to the V&A, the majority are landscapes. He is the first identifiable British collector of early photographs apart from the Prince Consort, particularly landscape photography, and also collected gems and geological specimens.'

Historical significance: This is a characteristic example of the genre of atmospheric moorland landscapes in dawn light which was initiated by Schleich. The composition is a version of a composition of similar size (31.2 x 62.4cm), dated around 1845, in a private collection (See Siegfried Wichmann,Meister, Schueler, Themen. Muenchener Landschaftsmaler im 19. Jahrhundert , Herrsching 1981,pp.112-113, fig. 254.)

By 1851 Schleich increasingly depicted panoramic views, with elongated proportions between 1:2 and 1:3; a choice of format perhaps related to panoramic photographs which he could have seen at the Great Exhibition of 1851. This characteristic, and the sharp focus of his landscapes may have been especially congenial to the Rev. Chauncey Hare Townshend, who was also a major early patron of landscape photography.

Waagen described 1537-1869 thus 'A landscape, taken from the scenery around Munich, where the painter resides. The time is dawn, with stags returning to a wood. Signed. This picture shows great feeling for nature and truth of effect; the distance alone is somewhat heavy in tone'.'
Historical context
Eduard Schleich (1812-74) studied at the Munich Academy, and privately. He was initially influenced by the landscape style of Carl Rottmann (1797-1850) and Christian Morgenstern (1805-1867, and painted clear and simple mountain landscapes of Upper Bavaria and the Tyrol, conditioned by his study of 17th century Dutch landscapes. In 1851 he visited Paris with Karl Spitzweg in 1851, where he was impressed at the Salon by the works of the Barbizon School, and London, where he visited the Great Exhibition and encountered paintings by John Constable and Richard Parkes Bonington. Subsequently he settled in Munich and became one of the leading landscape painters of the Munich school. The figures in his landscapes were often added by friends, such as Friedrich Voltz (1817-86).

The term ‘Biedermeier’ refers to bourgeois life and art in Germanic Europe, an extensive area embracing such cities as Copenhagen, Berlin, Vienna and Prague, from 1815 (the Congress of Vienna) to the revolutions of 1848. Biedermeier painters were ideologically opposed to academic and religious painting and favoured such subject matter as portraits, landscapes and genre scenes, with still-lifes, especially of flowers. They share a similar technique in the use of separate, clear tones and a high degree of finish, reminiscent of Neo-Classicism while they tend to convey a greater sentimentality. By the 1880s, the influence of this artistic movement was on the wane and was even used pejoratively to characterize the reactionary bourgeois elements in society, which remained quite indifferent to social problems and cultivated a sense of order and sobriety, especially in the private sphere and the domestic realm.
Subjects depicted
Place depicted
Schleich studied the subtle treatment of light and skies in 17th-century Dutch paintings. With that in mind, he carefully depicted in this work, timid deer, the effects of dawn and the morning light reflected in the shallow pools. A critic who saw the painting between 1854 and 1856 praised its 'great feeling for nature and truth of effect'.
Bibliographic references
  • Kauffmann, C.M. Catalogue of Foreign Paintings, II. 1800-1900 . London: Victoria and Albert Museum, 1973, pp. 93-94, cat. no. 202. For a general account of the artist, see: Erika Roediger-Diruf & Helga Walter-Dresser, Biedermeier und Vormaerz. Gesichter einer Epoche. Spitzweg, Schwind, Schleich , exhibition catalogue, Staedtische Galerie, Karlsruhe 1984, pp.34-5, 144-50, 240-48. Siegfried Wichmann, Meister, Schueler, Themen. Muenchener Landschaftsmaler im 19. Jahrhundert , Herrsching 1981, pp.50-51, 68-9, 82-3, 110-130, 135-139, 142-3, 153, 168-178, 182-185, 269.
  • Waagen, Galleries and Cabinets of Art in Great Britain: Being an account of more than forty collections of Paintings, Drawings, Sculptures, Mss, etc, London, 1857, p.178.
Accession number

About this object record

Explore the Collections contains over a million catalogue records, and over half a million images. It is a working database that includes information compiled over the life of the museum. Some of our records may contain offensive and discriminatory language, or reflect outdated ideas, practice and analysis. We are committed to addressing these issues, and to review and update our records accordingly.

You can write to us to suggest improvements to the record.

Suggest feedback

Record createdMay 22, 2003
Record URL
Download as: JSONIIIF Manifest