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Biography of Edwin Henry Landseer

Portrait of Edwin Landseer

Sir Edwin Henry Landseer was a painter and sculptor best known for his lions in Trafalgar Square, London.

When and Where was he Born?

7th March 1802, London, England.

Family Background:

Edwin Henry Landseer was the son of an engraver, John Landseer.


Royal Academy Schools, London.

Timeline of Edwin Landseer:

1813: Landseer wins the Silver Palette of the Society for animal Painting aged 11.

1815: He exhibits “Dogs” at the Royal Academy of Arts in London.

1818: “Fighting Dogs Getting Wind” is exhibited at the Society of Painters in Oil and Watercolour in London.

1821: Landseer’s “Rat Catchers” is exhibited at the Royal Academy in London and influences the French artist Gericault.

1826: He is elected Associate of the Royal Academy.

1831: He is elected as a Member of the Royal Academy. Landseer was to become the favourite painter of Queen Victoria and the darling of the British public although his paintings were dismissed as sentimental and technically unadventurous by the critics.

1840: He suffers a nervous breakdown largely due to the recent death of his mother but which was also exacerbated by the failure of his painting for the Royal Family. Over the next few years he travels widely in order to regain his health with the chemist and artist Jacob Bell. He makes many drawings of people and animals. On his return home he is looked after by his sister and his aunt but became increasingly dependent on alcohol and drugs.

1850: Landseer is knighted.

Monarch of the Glen. 1851. National Gallery of Scotland
Monarch of the Glen. 1851. National Gallery of Scotland

1865: He refuses the Presidency of the Royal Academy.

1867: The Landseer Lions around the base of Nelson’s Column in Trafalgar Square, London are unveiled.

When and Where did he Die?

1st October 1873, London, England from complications of drugs and alcohol.

Age at Death:


Landseer lions
One of the four bronze lions erected at the corners of 
Nelson’s Column in Trafalgar Square, London (copyright Anthony Blagg)

Major Paintings:

1844: “Shoeing.” (Tate Britain, London)
1843: “Rout of Comus.” (Tate Britain, London)


Never married.

Site of Grave:

St. Paul’s Cathedral, London, England.

St Paul's Cathedral
St Paul’s Cathedral, London (copyright Anthony Blagg)

Places of Interest:


Sudley House.


Four Bronze Lions at the base of Nelson’s Column in Trafalgar Square. (Unveiled 1867).
Victoria and Albert Museum. (Has drawings from when he was 8 years old onwards).
National Portrait Gallery.
Wallace Collection.


Somerleyton Hall and Gardens, Lowestoft.