Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Painting of the Day: Prince Albert’s Greyhound, “Eos” by Sir Edwin Landseer, 1841

Sir Edwin Landseer, 1841
Commissioned by Queen Victoria as a gift
for Prince Albert
The Royal Collection
Those Royals and their dogs…it’s a long-standing love. Prince Albert and Queen Victoria always had dogs around the house and, by all accounts, loved each of them dearly. In 1841, Queen Victoria wanted to make a present to her husband of a painting of his favorite greyhound. Of course, she commissioned Sir Edwin Landseer who was well known for his skill in depicting dogs in his artwork.

Here, we see a lovely portrait of the greyhound that the prince called “Eos.” Greyhounds were a symbol of court life of the time, and Prince Albert had a particular fondness for this particular fellow. He described the dog as, “very friendly if there is plum-cake in the room … keen on hunting, sleepy after it, always proud and contemptuous of other dogs.”

Landseer has portrayed Eos in a fittingly dignified light as he stands in attention, guarding his master’s tall hat, gloves and stick. Prince Albert was thrilled with the gift. And, well he should have been. It’s a truly stunning painting.

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