Sir Edwin Landseer, R.A. 1802 - 1873
A dead pheasant
Photo: R.A.
© Royal Academy of Arts, London
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A dead pheasant, ca.1810
Pencil on cream wove paper, 12.5 X 24 cm
Given by Sir John Aird, 1883
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Sir Edwin Landseer's lifelong passion for depicting animals is evident even in his earliest drawings. The Royal Academy's collection of early Landseer drawings includes a menagerie of domestic pets, farm stock and wild animals. Landseer and his friend and fellow artist John Frederick Lewis shared an interest in animal subjects and they are said to have acquired carcasses of foxes and game to study.

In his later work Landseer often painted birds - most frequently as dead or dying game, as in 'Windsor Castle in Modern Times' (1841-5), and 'Ptarmigan' (c.1833). However, some of his paintings, such as 'Macaw, Love Birds, Terrier and Spaniel Puppies Belonging to her Majesty' (1839), feature lively depictions of birds kept as domestic pets.