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The Newfoundland in Art & Literature

Sir Edwin Henry Landseer's works depicting Newfoundland Dogs


Hours of Innocence

Lord Alexander Russell son of the 6th Duke of Bedford with his dog, Landseer, Sir Edwin (1802-73) / Private Collection, Photo © Christie's Images / The Bridgeman Art Library


Newfoundland Dog Called Lion

Dated 1824 (oil on canvas), The dog was painted in 1824 but Edwin requested the inclusion of the mountainous background, later done after his first trip to the Scottish Highlands. This dog belonged to William H. de Merle. Victoria & Albert Museum, London, UK, The Bridgeman Art Library

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Bashaw or Off to the Rescue

Dated 1927 Landseer’s growing reputation attrached the Earl of Dudley and Edwin was invited to portray Bashaw. The work engraved in 1858 by Thomas Landseer and titled “Off to the Rescue”. Landseer hints at the life saving abilities of the dog by showing him at the seashore, on the verge of leaping into action. Th huge scale of the work and the beautiful pose showing full movement and feeling create a breathtaking sight. The 1st Earl of Dudley was so fond of Bashaw, he also commissioned Matthew Cote Wyatt to do an elaborate and expensive multi-colored marble statue of him trampling a snake. This statue is displayed in the Victoria and Albert museum.

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Detail out of Horses and Dogs with a Carrot
Dated 1827

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Twa Dogs

Dated 1822 An illustration for the Scottish narative poem by Robert Burns shows the white and black Newfoundlnad Caesar belonging to Mr. Gosling and Luath, a smooth-coated working Collie, who was Borns' favorite dog. A hand-tinted engraving by Chas. A. Lewis published in 1889. The poem depicts a conversation between the dogs. Read More

Princess Mary and Favourite Newfoundland Dog

Dated 1839 The young Queen Victoria got impressed by the work of Landseer. She was and avid dog fancier who had 75 dogs at any given time during her reign. She commissioned Edwin to paint portrais of many of them. Here we see Princess Mary (the late Duchess of Teck) as a child – the younger sister of Prince George with her favourite Newfoundland dog, Nelson, balancing a biscuit on his nose. Engraved by Thomas Landseer. The Duchess of Teck was to become the mother of Queen Mary who was the grandmother of the present queen Elizabeth



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Prince George’s Favorites

Dated 1835 The white pony Selim, Newfoundland dog Nelson Spaniel Flora and falcons all belong to the elder son of the Duke of Cambridge , Prince George. Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection, USA, / The Bridgeman Art Library
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Dated 1824. Full portrait of Mr. Gosling's Neptune in a landscape overlooking a lake. Perhaps affirming the heroic nature of the dog, the painting is framed with timbers from the famous HMS Temeraire, a battleship that fought at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805.

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In 1856 the Royal Academy exhibited “Saved” This painting is beautifully composed and once it was engraved by Samual Cousins in 1859 it became as popular as “A Distinguished Member” Based on the fame of Milo, a Newfoundland living with the keeper of the Egg Rock Lighthouse in Nahant, George B. Taylor. In foggy weather Milo served as a kind of fog signal, barking at vessels as they approached Egg Rock. Taylor claimed his dog was as useful as the light. Milo was credited with the rescue of several children from drowning around the island. His fame spread across the Atlantic. Landseer, painted Milo’s portrait, depicting a small child nestled between the dog's enormous paws. The model for the child was Keeper Taylor's young son, Fred. Read More. This painting was engraved under four different titles and various sizes by Currier & Ives, New York.

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A Distinguished Member of the Humane Society

Dated 1831. The most famous of all Landseers. On the painting is Paul Pyr bred by Mr. Phillip Bacon and belonging to Landseer’s cousin. A Stately white dog with a black head and small blaze, waiting to be of assistance to the unwary. The work first exhibited in 1838. The distinguished dog in the painting is supposed to be "Bob" according to legend, he was shipwrecked off the coast of England. As a stray, he became well-known along the London waterfront saving people from drowning, There were twenty-three rescues recorded spanning fourteen years, He was declared a distinguished member of the Royal Humane Society which not only entitled him to a medal, but also to food every day.
When Sir Edwin Landseer decided to paint Bob in 1837, the dog could not be located, Another Newfoundland, whom Landseer had seen walking down a street in London carrying a message for his mistress, posed for the painting. His name was Paul Pry. Paul Pry was taken to the artist's studio and placed on a table in the position that we see him in the picture, The artist has placed the faithful dog against a simple background; a dull threatening sky, The light falls beautifully on his white coat. We can almost feel his thick, soft fur and hear him breathe, His dark head stands out
against the lightest part of the sky, Sea gulls are flying about. The water laps against the stone block where the iron ring is fastened, The picture is quiet, but there is a feeling that something is about to happen, should there be a cry for help, Bob would be off to save!

The original painting of Bob hangs in the Tate Gallery of London. An engraving of this painting was made by Thomas Landseer with extensive retouching by Sir Edwin to assure perfection. Read about the restoration project .


"My Dog" or "Bob"

This head study of the dog used in the Distinquished Member painting was painted 16 yeas after the original.


Return to Biography of Sir Edwin Landseer

Books about Sir Edwin Landseer

Landseer's Dogs And Their Stories 


Engravings of lions, tigers, panthers, leopards, dogs, &c., chiefly after the designs of Sir Edwin Landseer 

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