Lot 2
  • 2

Sir Edwin Henry Landseer, R.A.

100,000 - 150,000 USD
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  • Sir Edwin Henry Landseer, R.A.
  • A dead stag, with sketched figures of a ghillie and hounds
  • oil on board
  • 18 7/8 by 23 3/4 in.
  • 48 by 60.5 cm


The artist’s studio;
His deceased sale, London, Christie’s, 8-14 May 1874, lot 280 (as A Dead Stag) for £168 to Agnew's on behalf of
Charles William Mansel Lewis (1845–1931), Stradey Castle, Llanelly, Carmarthenshire;
Thence by descent until sold, ‘Property from the Estate of the late Sir David Mansel Lewis’, London, Sotheby’s, 6 July 2011, lot 48 (for $155,575);
There acquired.


Sheffield City Art Galleries, Landseer, 6 February - 12 March 1972, no. 92;
Edinburgh, Royal Scottish Academy, The Monarch of the Glen, Landseer in the Highlands, 14 April - 10 July 2005, no. 49.


R. Ormond, The Monarch of the Glen, Landseer in the Highlands, exhibition catalogue, Edinburgh 2005, p. 54, cat. no. 49, reproduced plate 49.


The following condition report was kindly provided by Simon Parkes Art Conservation, Inc.: This work on board is in very good state. The board is flat. The paint layer shows very slight instability in the rock in the center left, and in the lower left and lower right edges. The surfaces of the edges of the board are slightly uneven, but the painted image of the deer is in beautiful condition. Under ultraviolet light, one can see very small dots of retouching here and there in the unpainted background, but there are no retouches within the animal itself. The work should be hung as is.
In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective qualified opinion.

Catalogue Note

Landseer first visited Scotland in 1824 and immediately responded to the dramatic Highlands that would come to define his oeuvre. Landseer compulsively sketched, and the majority of his studies are independent works not connected to larger, complete paintings. The present work, executed circa 1825-30, does not appear to be a preparatory drawing, and instead stands as a work in its own right. The stag shares elements with the fallen animal in the massive The Death of the Stag in Glen Tilt  which was executed over six years from 1824-30 as a hunting conversation piece for The Duke of Atholl (fig. 1). The composition also shares similarities with An Event in the Forest, painted circa 1865; known only from an engraving by the artist’s brother Thomas, the composition shows the stag in almost the same position as the present work (fig. 2).

As Richard Ormond explains, this work allows an observation of Landseer at work and provides clues to the artist’s working method (see R. Ormond, The Monarch of the Glen, Landseer in the Highlands, exhibition catalogue, Edinburgh 2005, p. 54). The highly finished stag, with each hair of the pelt carefully rendered, is in direct contrast to the loosely painted rocks on which the animal has fallen. Landseer works through the angles and details of the animal, emphasizing the pathos of the quarry. The virtuosity in the quickly rendered ghillie and two hounds evidence the artist’s careful technique and the solid forms contrast with the outlined areas further enforce the composition’s tension.

The present work was acquired from the six day sale of the contents of Landseer’s studio, including paintings, drawings, prints and books, by the amateur artist Charles Mansel Lewis (1845–1931). Held at Christie’s in May 1874, the sale attracted heated competition for nearly 1,400 lots. Mansel Lewis clearly felt a kinship to Landseer, and purchased a number of hunting, stalking and Highland scenes through Thomas Agnew’s gallery in London. In 1874, Mansel Lewis inherited the Stradey estate in South Wales (which remains in the family to this day) where he built a studio at the top of a tower overlooking the Bristol Channel and filled the walls with his collection.