Portrait of an Arab Mare with her Foal by Edwin Henry Landseer
Portrait of an Arab Mare with her Foal by Edwin Henry Landseer Portrait of an Arab Mare with her Foal by Edwin Henry Landseer Portrait of an Arab Mare with her Foal by Edwin Henry Landseer Portrait of an Arab Mare with her Foal by Edwin Henry Landseer
Portrait of an Arab Mare with her Foal by Edwin Henry Landseer

Portrait of an Arab Mare with her Foal by Edwin Henry Landseer

  • This masterpiece of horse painting was composed by the great animalier Sir Edwin Landseer
  • Commissioned by Princess Charlotte, the work was a Royal gift to Lady Barbara Ponsonby
  • Later exhibited at the Royal Academy, it is among the few Landseer's still in private hands
  • His delightful depictions of animals made him a favorite of Queen Victoria and the court
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Item No. 30-5189
$598,500
description
specifications
description
Sir Edwin Henry Landseer
1803-1873 | British

Portrait of an Arab Mare with her Foal

Oil on canvas
Signed with initials and dated 1825

An important masterpiece by the great animalier Sir Edwin Landseer, Portrait of an Arab Mare with her Foal embodies Landseer’s unrivaled talent as an animal painter. Commissioned by Princess Charlotte, the daughter of King George III, the painting was given as a Royal gift to her lady-in-waiting, Lady Barbara Ponsonby, and was later exhibited at the Royal Academy. Held by the family of Lady Barbara for generations, Portrait of an Arab Mare with her Foal is one of the few major works by Landseer to come on the market in recent decades, making this an exceedingly rare opportunity for equestrian and art collectors alike. That it was both a Royal gift and exhibited at the prestigious Royal Academy makes it all the more exceptional.

Painted when he was just 22 years old, the breathtaking oil on canvas marks the beginning of Landseer’s prodigious career as a royal favorite. He possessed a remarkable talent for capturing the personality and mystique of animals, which appealed to the English taste, and later to Queen Victoria herself. The Queen granted him numerous commissions for portraits of the royal pets, and Landseer would produce over 40 works for Queen Victoria and Prince Albert during his career, the great majority of which are still held at Buckingham Palace. While many of these works solely capture the Queen’s large menagerie, some also include the royal couple, such as his famed Windsor Castle in Modern Times (Royal Trust Collection). Yet, animals were the subject for which he was most celebrated, and Portrait of an Arab Mare with her Foal stands as an excellent example of Landseer’s superior skill as a horse painter.

Landseer studied his animal subjects in great detail throughout his life, and this work reveals his extraordinary talent for observation. Capturing an Arabian mare with her foal, the painting is imbued with a remarkable level of detail, as well as a subtle sense of movement. The majestic pair raise their heads and glance outwards toward the viewer as though startled, disturbed from their drink at the pond. Free from the sentimentality that is sometimes seen in his later works, Portrait of an Arab Mare with her Foal presents a tranquil portrait that beautifully captures both the spirit and grace of the horse. A similar composition of an Arab mare with her foal is currently in the Wallace Collection in London.

Considered by many the greatest animal painter of all time, Landseer’s immense talent emerged at a young age. The son of the engraver John Landseer A.R.A, Landseer was considered a child prodigy, and he showcased his first painting at the Royal Academy in 1815 at the age of just 13. His reputation as an animal painter was unrivaled in his age, and many of his works were reproduced as engravings by his brother, Thomas Landseer, a practice which earned them both considerable income. In addition to his portraits, Landseer is also remembered as the sculptor of the four lions that guard Nelson’s Column in London’s Trafalgar Square. Today, his works hang in some of the most important collections in the world, including the Victoria and Albert Museum (London), the Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York), the Art Institute of Chicago, the Wallace Collection (London), the Tate Gallery (London), and the Royal Collection at Buckingham Palace.

Exhibited:
The Works of the Late Sir Edwin Landseer, R.A., 1874, Royal Academy, London, No. 385

Canvas: 28” high x 36” wide
Frame: 42 3/4” high x 51” wide

Provenance:
Princess Charlotte, eldest daughter of George III
Gifted to Lady Barbara Ponsonby
Thence by descent to Claude A.C. Ponsonby
Sold Christie's March 23, 1908, lot 21, bought by a close relative
Thence by descent
Private collection, United Kingdom
M.S. Rau Antiques, 2016
specifications
Artist: Landseer, Sir Edwin Henry
Framed: 51"W x 42 3/4"H
Unframed: 36"W x 28"H
Period: 1815-1918
Origin: England
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