Collection Online

The Earl and Countess of Sefton and daughter, with horses and dogs

oil on canvas
182.4 × 286.2 cm
Accession Number
International Painting
Credit Line
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
Felton Bequest, 1948
This digital record has been made available on NGV Collection Online through the generous support of Digitisation Champion Ms Carol Grigor through Metal Manufactures Limited
Gallery location
Not on display

Remained with the artist until his death, London, 1873; included in the sale of the Landseer Estate, Christie's, London, 8 May 1874, no. 133, as The Earl and Countess of Sefton; from where purchased by Agnew’s (dealer), London, 1874, stock no. 8698[1]; sold to Henry William Eaton (1816–91), later 1st Baron Cheylesmore (cr. 1887), 6 June 1874; his collection, Cheylesmore Manor, Coventry and Warwick, until 1891; included in the late Lord Cheylesmore sale, Christie's, London, 7 May 1892, no. 40, as Waiting for the ferry[2]; with Leggatt Bros (dealer), London, by 1947; from where purchased, on the advice of A.J.L. McDonnell, for the Felton Bequest, 1947; arrived Melbourne, 1948.

[1] See Agnew’s Picture Stockbook 1874–79, NGA27/1/1/5, pp. 14-15, Thomas Agnew & Sons archive, National Gallery Research Centre, London,

[2] 71 x 112 in, with the description “The portraits were said to have been those of the Earl and Countess of Sefton and Lady Cecelia Molyneux [their daughter].” The painting sold for £220.10.

Exhibited, The Works of the late Sir Edwin Landseer, R.A., Royal Academy Winter Exhibition, London, 1874, no. 256.

Landseer was a fastidious painter widely celebrated for his brilliant portrayals of animals. A popular and successful artist, he was also a favoured portrait painter of the English aristocracy and Queen Victoria, whose dogs, stags and horses he painted. Exactly why Landseer never completed this comission is a mystery – perhaps the client never paid up, or perhaps it is simply evidence of the artist’s interest in and attitude towards his subjects. Fatefully, many years later, a series of disturbing events leading to a mental breakdown left Landseer unable to complete many of his commissions.