I. John, an English engraver, born in Lincoln in 1769, died Feb. 29, 1852. His reputation was founded on the engravings furnished for Bowyer's edition of Hume's "History of England" and Moore's "Views in Scotland" toward the close of the last century, and on a series from the works of Rubens, Snyders, and other artists. In 1806 he delivered a course of lectures on engraving at the royal institution, which were published in 1807. At the same time he was elected an associate engraver in the royal academy, an honor which he accepted for the purpose of removing the restrictions against the admission of engravers to full membership. Failing in this object, he devoted himself chiefly to literary pursuits, and started at different periods two art journals, both of which speedily failed. He also published a quarto volume on engraved gems and hieroglyphics. His "Descriptive, Explanatory, and Critical Catalogue of five of the Earliest Pictures in the National Academy" (London, 1834) is full of amusing gossip.
His best engraving is the "Dogs of Mount St. Bernard," from one of the earliest pictures of his son, Sir Edwin Landseer.
II. Thomas, eldest son of the preceding, born about the close of the last century. He adopted his father's profession, and executed many engravings in mezzotint from his brother Edwin's pictures. One of his best known works is an engraving of Rosa Bonheur's celebrated picture of the "Horse Fair " (1861). His best engravings are after his brother's pictures, of which he has caught the spirit and style. He has published the " Life and Letters of William Bewick" (2 vols., 1871).
III. Charles, brother of the preceding, a genre painter, born in 1799. He received his first instructions in painting from Haydon, and entered the schools of the academy in 1816. He exhibited in the royal academy in 1828, and several times received the highest prize of the art union. Among his most popular pictures are "Pamela," "Clarissa Harlowe," "The Monks of Melrose," "The Departure in Disguise of Charles II.," and "The Return of the Dove to the Ark." He was elected a royal academician in 1845, and was appointed a keeper in 1851.
IV. Sir Edwin, brother of the preceding, a painter of animals, born in London in 1803, died there, Oct. 1, 1873. While a child he was remarkable for skill in drawing. His father took him to the fields, and made him copy the ordinary domestic animals, at rest or in motion, from the life, and in the same way caused him to acquire his first notions of color; and at the age of 14 he attracted attention by his spirited sketches. Two years later he exhibited his "Dogs Fighting," which was purchased by Sir George Beaumont, and shortly afterward a striking picture of two St. Bernard dogs rescuing a traveller from the snow, which was engraved by his father. About this time he received to a limited extent instruction and advice from Haydon, but never became a regular pupil. He also drew in the schools of the royal academy, and from the Elgin marbles. In 1827 he was elected an associate member of the royal academy, having just reached the requisite age, and about the same time made a visit to the highlands of Scotland, the impressions derived from which have been reproduced in a series of characteristic works.
In 1847 he was elected a member of the royal academy of Belgium; in 1850 he was knighted; and in 1855 he received a gold medal at the universal exposition in Paris, being the only English artist so distinguished. Upon the death of Sir Charles Eastlake, in 1865, he was elected president of the royal academy, but declined the office. Among his best known pictures are: "The Return from Deer-Stalking," exhibited in 1827; "The Illicit Whiskey Still," 1829; "Highland Music," 1830; "Poachers: Deer-Stalking," 1831; "Sir Walter Scott and his Dogs," 1833; "The Drover's Departure," 1835; "A distinguished Member of the Humane Society," 1838; "High Life and Low Life," 1840;" The Shepherd's Prayer," 1845; "The Stag at Bay," 1846; "The Random Shot," 1848; and "Night and Morning "and "The Children of the Mist," 1853. Among his more recent works are " The Connoisseurs," containing a portrait of himself; " The Defeat of Comus;" " Pen, Brush, and Chisel," a sketch of Chantrey's studio; " The Sanctuary;" " Taming the Shrew;" and " Windsor Forest."
From 1858 many of his works were drawings in chalk, which are much admired. For many years his pictures were regularly engraved, and for the copyright of some of them he received as much as £3,000 in addition to the price of the picture. A series has been published entitled. " The Forest," from drawings by Land-seer. Many of his finest sketches were presented to the duchess of Bedford, between whom and himself a warm friendship existed for years, and are now in the possession of her daughter the duchess of Abercorn. He was incomparably the best animal painter of his time, and he also produced a number of admirable etchings; but it is generally conceded that in designing the lions for the base of Nelson's monument, London, unveiled in 1867, he failed as a sculptor. A sale of his works in London in 1874 realized £73,400. Landseer was noted for his wit and his genial social qualities. He never married. He was buried in St. Paul's cathedral, beside Reynolds and Turner. - See "Early Works of Sir Edwin Landseer," by F. G. Stephens (London, 1868), and "Memoirs of Sir Edwin Landseer," by the same (1874).