Landseer (1802-73) was a brilliant animal painter whose work appealed in the Victorian age because of his tendency to give animal scenes a moral dimension. In 1816 he entered the Royal Academy Schools, was elected Associate of the Royal Academy in 1826 aged only twenty four, and full Academician in 1831 when not yet thirty.
In 1824 Landseer made the first of many visits to Scotland, where he fell in love with the Highlands, inspiring many of his later paintings such as 'The Monarch of the Glen'. In the 1830s his work gained wide popularity, and after 1836 he enjoyed royal patronage, especially when Victoria and Albert also discovered Scotland. He paid his first visit to their home at Balmoral in 1850 to paint a large group portrait of the royal family, and was knighted that year even though the painting was never finished.
After a breakdown, partly caused by the failure of the royal portrait, Landseer had a permanent fight against depression and ill health, although he continued to paint brilliantly almost until the end of his life. He also modelled the lions at the base of Nelson's Column in Trafalgar Square, declined the presidency of the Royal Academy in 1866, and after 1870 sank slowly into madness.