Sir Edwin Henry Landseer R.A, R.I.
The Children of the Mist, c. 1853
Painted for Joseph Miller, Esq.
Thomas Lloyd, Esq., C.B.;
His deceased sale, Christie’s, London, 5 June 1875, lot 102 (£1207 and 10 shillings).
(Probably) acquired by Charles Nall-Cain, 1st Baron Brocket (1866 – 1934), directly from the above; and by descent to
Charles Nall-Cain, 3rd Baron Brocket (b. 1952), Brocket Hall, Hertfordshire.
Private Collection, UK.
- Ormond, Sir Edwin Landseer, exh. cat., Philadelphia Museum of Art and Tate Gallery, Philadelphia and London, 1981, p. 179, under no. 130.
London, Royal Academy, 1853, no. 170.
Manchester, Art Treasures Exhibition, 1857.
London, Royal Academy, The Works of the Late Sir Edwin Landseer, R.A., Winter 1874, no. 300.
Having spent much the 1830s and occupied with commissions, Landseer returned to painting tranquil studies of deer and stags after suffering a breakdown in 1840. It is to the following decade that this painting belongs. As Richard Ormond points out, in addition to reflecting his own fragile state, ‘The transcendental qualities of Landseer’s pictures can be attributed, in part, to the mood of the time – the spiritual doubts, the fatalism, and the romanticism of the early Victorians’ (op. cit., p. 166). In this composition, a group of stags and hinds emerge from the mist, some at rest while others remain alert. It was painted around the same time as Landseer’s most iconic work, The Monarch of the Glen, which was executed in 1851; and there is another version of the composition, in coloured chalk on paper, in the Royal Collection (fig. 1; dated 1866).
Landseer did drawings in chalk between 1845 and 1868 for an album of 20 prints entitled The Forest. The composition was also engraved, and the artist – a perfectionist – repeatedly reviewed and retouched his proofs to ensure as faithful a reproduction as possible. Ormond
observes: ‘Landseer’s fame as a deer painter was enormously enhanced by the publication of prints….A wide range of Landseer’s animal subjects was engraved, but in the late 1840s and 1850s it was the deer pictures above all that earned him his legendary reputation.’ (op. cit., p. 177).