Sir Edwin Henry Landseer

The Defeat of Comus

1843

Artist
Sir Edwin Henry Landseer 1802–1873
Medium
Oil paint on canvas
Dimensions
Support: 889 x 1689 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Bequeathed by Jacob Bell 1859
Reference
N00605

Not on display

Display caption

In 1843 Queen Victoria's husband, Prince Albert, commissioned a number of painters to decorate a small garden pavilion in the grounds of Buckingham Palace. The artists were to select scenes from the masque Comus by the seventeenth-century poet John Milton, and subjects from the work of the Romantic novelist and poet Walter Scott. Like Boydell's Shakespeare Gallery (see Lear and Cordelia displayed above) it was hoped that the project would help encourage British history painting.

This is Edwin Landseer's preliminary sketch, showing the rout of Comus and his company of revellers. The pavilion was pulled down in 1928.

Gallery label, September 2004