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by [?]

The stepmother exercised a stepmother’s rights, and occasionally chastised, for his own good, her overgrown charge, and the big brute would whimper and whine like a lubberly boy.

This curious pair of animals made a great impression on the Landseers. The father and three boys sketched them in various attitudes, and engravings of Edwin’s sketch are still to be had.

And so wherever in London animals were to be found, there, too, were the Landseers with pencils and brushes, and pads and palettes.

In the back yard of the house where the Landseers lived were sundry pens of pet rabbits; in the attic were pigeons, and dogs of various breeds lay on the doorstep sleeping in the sun, or barked at you out of the windows.

It is reported that John Landseer once contemplated a change of residence; he selected the house he wanted, bargained with the landlord, agreed as to terms and handed out his card preparatory to signing a lease.

The real-estate agent looked at the name, stuttered, stammered, and finally said: “You must excuse me, Sir, but they say as how you are a dealer in dogs, and your boys are dog-catchers! You’ll excuse me–but–I just now ‘appened to think the ‘ouse is already took!”

* * * * *

The Landseers moved from Queen Anne Street to Foley Street, near Burlington House. This was a neighborhood of artists, and for neighbors they had West, Mulready, Northcote, Constable, Flaxman and our own picturesque Allston, of Cambridge, Massachusetts.

The Elgin Marbles were then kept at Burlington House, and these were a great source of inspiration to the Landseer boys. It gave them a true taste of the Grecian, and knowing a little about Greece, they wanted to know more. Greece became the theme–they talked it at breakfast, dinner and supper. The father and mother told them all they knew, and guessed at a few things more, and to keep at least one lesson ahead of the children the parents “crammed for examination.”

Edwin sketched that world-famous horse’s head from the Parthenon, and the figures of horses and animals in bas-relief that formed the frieze; and the boys figured out in their minds why horses and men were all the same height.

Gradually it dawned upon the father and the brothers that Edwin was their master so far as drawing was concerned. They could sketch a Newfoundland dog that would pass for anybody’s Newfoundland, but Edwin’s was a certain identical dog, and none other.

Edwin Landseer really discovered the dog.

He discovered that dogs of one breed may be very different in temper and disposition; and going further he found that dogs have character and personality. He struck an untouched lode and worked it out to his own delight and the delight of great numbers of others.

His pictures were not mystical, profound or problematic–simply dogs, but dogs with feelings, affections, jealousies, prejudices. In short, he showed that dogs, after all, are very much like folks; and from this, people with a turn for psychology reasoned that the source of life in the dog was the same as the source of life in man.

Plain people who owned a dog beloved by the whole household, as household dogs always are, became interested in Landseer’s dogs. They could not buy a painting by Landseer, but they could spare a few shillings for an engraving.

And so John Landseer began to reproduce the pictures of Edwin’s dogs.

The demand grew, and Thomas now ceased to sketch and devoted all his time to etching and engraving his brother’s work.

Every one knew of Landseer, even people who cared nothing for art: they wanted a picture of one of his dogs to hang over the chimney, because the dog looked like one they used to own.

Then rich people came and wanted Edwin to paint a portrait of their dog, and a studio was opened where the principal sitters were dogs. From a position where close economy must be practised, the Landseers found themselves with more money than they knew what to do with.