Image from page 108 of "... Landseer : a collection of fifteen pictures and a portrait of the painter" (1901)
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were an every-day affair,like ordering a rib of beef, or a leg of mutton.There was a sensation among the guests, and mucbmerriment was caused by their pretended alarm.Tradition says that Charles Dickens was of the party,and it was he who often told the story afterwards.As it proved, Mr. Mitchell had sent the painter alion which had died that day in the ZoologicalGarden of Regents Park. In 1859 Landseer received an important commis-sion from the English government requiring all hisknowledge of the lion. His task was to model somelions to ornament the Nelson monument in TrafalgarSquare, London. This monument had been erectedmore than fifteen years before (1843), in memory ofthe admiral under whose leadership the English fleethad won their victory off Cape Trafalgar, October21, 1805. It consisted of a tall granite columnsurmounted by a statue of Nelson. To make thebase of the column more imposing, it now seemeddesirable to place colossal bronze figures of lions atthe four corners. ?i>
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A LION OF THE NELSON MONUMENT 89 With characteristic thoroughness, the artist madehis preparatory studies. Two of these are roughsketches on canvas in the National Gallery of Lon-don, and show distinctly the original data for hisfinal conception. Apparently they are studies frommenagerie animals. One is in profile, showing thebeast as he creeps in snarling discontent within thelimited area of his cage. The other sketch hascaught the attitude of the animal lifting his head toscan an approaching visitor. In these two studies,Landseer obtained the proper proportions of the sideface, from nosetip to ear, and the length of the frontface, from the crest of the mane to the lower jaw.They also show completely the manner in which themane grows, both along the back and on each sidethe face. It could not be expected that a man who hadbeen all his life a painter would immediately acquireproficiency as a sculptor. Landseer had his lionsunder way nearly ten years, and in the mean timepractised hims
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