Thomas Landseer after Sir Edwin Landseer
To the Right Honourable John Singleton Copley, Lord Lyndhurst, Lord High Chancellor of England, this engraving of Laying Down the Law, is by special desire dedicated to His Lordship by his obedient humble servant Thomas McLean.
33¾ x 34½ inches
Large-scale etching by Thomas Landseer after the painting by his elder brother, Sir Edwin Landseer; published in London in 1843.
This very amusing legal scene depicts dogs in a courtroom. A large white poodle sits at the centre, parodying a judge in his white wig, a paw upon the statute book.
From the palace down, Victorian society was embracing the trend for dogs to be kept just as much as domestic amusements as working animals. Victoria and Albert had many of their pet dogs painted and engraved by Landseer and where the queen led others followed. The original painting, exhibited at the R.A. in 1840, was bought by the Duke of Devonshire and remains at Chatsworth.
The Landseer family was quite a force to be reckoned with in mid nineteenth century London's art world. The father, John Landseer, was a painter and engraver who taught both his sons and also fought hard to gain recognition for engravers at the Royal Academy of Arts. The boys, Thomas and Edwin, both excelled in their professions and Edwin Landseer went on to become arguably the most famous animal painter of the Victorian era.