The Library of Nineteenth-Century Photography

Tom Landseer

Tom Landseer

The elder brother of Sir Edwin Landseer, Tom Landseer was an eminent line engraver and etcher. He was also an occasional painter. According to his obituary in the Times (22 January 1880), he 'occupied for many years a distinguished place in the world of art as an engraver and was especially skilled at mezzo-tint engravings.'

One of his contemporaries later remembered: 'His face was always beaming; it was, if anything, wider than it was long, and the very picture of good nature; his figure, too, was almost as broad as he was tall' [G.A. Storey, Sketches from Memory, 1899].

He was also profoundly deaf, as another of his contemporaries later recalled: 'He was so deaf that he could not modulate his voice at all, and would sometimes whisper the most ordinary remarks, as if they were State secrets, while at other times, notably at the private view of the Royal Academy, he would yell criticisms of the pictures at us which were certainly not meant for the public to hear. Then he would thrust a porcelain slate that he always kept attached to his coat in to our hands, and wait for us to write down a reply to what he had just said. I do not know anything more trying than this mode of communication, and as in those days lip-reading had not been invented, the conversations were usually very one-sided' [Mrs Panton, Leaves from a Life, 1908].

Photographed by John Watkins of London.

Code: 124122
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