After Sir Edwin Landseer, Dignity & Impudence

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A good Victorian copy of Sir Edwin Landseer’s (1802-1873), ‘Dignity and Impudence’, which is in the collection at Tate Britain. Undoubtedly, this is one of the best-known dog paintings of all time and also one of Landseer’s most celebrated.

The painting was commissioned by Jacob Bell, a pharmacist and politician, who was a good friend of Landseer’s. Both of the dogs were his - a Bloodhound named Grafton and a West Highland Terrier called Scratch.

Rather than simply create a good likeness of Mr Bell’s dogs, Landseer cleverly contrasted their personalities by drawing upon their human characteristics. Note how Grafton has a wise and dignified expression, whereas Scratch appears mischievous and playful.

The original work was created in 1839 and this copy produced in 1882.

Medium
Oil on canvas
Size
30” x 24” / 76.5cm x 61cm x 2cm
Year of creation
c. 1882
Condition
A little tatty but no holes or repairs. The canvas has a few scratches including one towards the top, along with areas of craquelure. However, the paint is stable and not raised or flaking.