Sir Edwin Landseer, R.A. 1802 - 1873
Studies in a Farmyard
Photo: R.A.
© Royal Academy of Arts, London
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Studies in a Farmyard, 1810?
Etching, 110 X 171 mm
Given by Sir John Aird, 1883
02/74
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Sir Edwin Landseer's lifelong passion for depicting animals is evident even in his earliest drawings. He drew the animals he saw around him, taking a particular interest in farms. The Royal Academy's collection of early Landseer drawings includes a menagerie of cattle, pigs, donkeys and horses as well as domestic animals like cats and dogs.
Sir Edwin Landseer's lifelong passion for depicting animals is evident even in his earliest drawings. He drew the animals he saw around him, taking a particular interest in farms. The Royal Academy's collection of early Landseer drawings includes a menagerie of cattle, pigs and horses, in common with another group of his early studies in the Victoria & Albert Museum.

According to the artist's father, the fields which then existed near the Finchley Road were 'Edwin's first studio'. He continued ' I then lived in Foley Street and nearly all the way between Marylebone and Hampstead was open fields. It was a favourite walk with my boys; and one day when I had accompanied them, Edwin stopped by this stile to admire some sheep and cows which were quietly grazing. At his request I lifted him over and finding a scrap of paper and a pencil in my pocket I made him sketch a cow. He was very young indeed then - not more than six or seven years old.'

In August 1810 the artist and diarist Joseph Farington recorded that he had received a visit from John Landseer (Edwin's father) who 'shewed some sketches of Cattle made by His Son, a Child of 7 years old, remarkably well done for his age'.