The Rescue by Sir Edwin Landseer (1802-73). 1834. Source: “Studies and Sketches by Sir Edwin Landseer, R.A.” (1875): 34. “Lent by H. G. Reid, Esq., Middleborough.”

'The Ferry’ and ‘A Shetland Pony’ are two very small sketches in pen and ink. Each of them shows with how little effort the artist could construct a picture having in it the elements of largeness. Widely different in style of work is 'The Rescue,’ executed in oil-colours: Landseer painted from it the picture exhibited at the Academy in 1834 under the title of ‘Highland Shepherd’s Dog in the Snow.’ The picture has been reproduced three times: once in lithography by R. J. Lane, A.R.A., where the print bears the Academy title; it was subsequently engraved by C. J. Lewis, under the title of ‘Snowdrift;’ and also by C. Mottram, with the name of ‘The Rescue.’ This last title we have retained here. The composition represents a dog vigorously scratching away the snow from a poor sheep which has been buried in it: a fact recorded in more than one story told by shepherds of the Scottish Highlands. . . . it is a work of intense interest. There are materials in the subject for much comment, which our space alone forbids; but whatever the leading idea of Landseer may have been when he made the sketch, we may of the dog. Having found the sheep, half dead from long conassume his principal object was to show the remarkable instinct of the dog. Having found the sheep, have dead from long continuance in the deep snow-drift,—its glazed eye is a Witness to this—the dog does not immediately run to its master to acquaint him with the discovery, but first of all releases it from superincumbent wegiht that has overwhelmed it almost to suffocation, thus giving it the chance of recovery before summoning the the shepherd to the rescue. [34-35]

Formatting and text by George P. Landow. [You may use this image without prior permission for any scholarly or educational purpose as long as you (1) credit the Hathi Trust and the University of Michigan and (2) link your document to this URL in a web document, or cite it in a print one.]


“Studies and Sketches by Sir Edwin Landseer, R.A.” Art-Journal (1875): 33-36. Hathi Trust version of a copy in the University of Michigan Library. Web. 23 March 2014

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Last modified 23 March 2014