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Landseer began exhibiting animal and historical pictures in the 1820s. He painted a number of Scottish highland subjects and, like Turner, illustrated the works of the novelist, Sir Walter Scott. From 1824 Landseer was a visitor to Abbotsford, Scott’s house in the Scottish Borders. This picture conveys its Romantic atmosphere. Scott’s great deerhound, Maida, which was then dying, lies with his younger companion, among antiquarian relics and sporting trophies. This painting was shown at the British Institution in 1827, when it was bought by the Duke of Bedford.

February 2016