White Collie in a landscape signed with monogram, inscribed 'Sketch' and dated 'EL / 1829' (inscised lower right) oil on board 21 x 26cm (8 1/4 x 10 1/4in).
A later label attached to the back of the board states: 'This portrait of a white Collie Dog was painted by Landseer when he was staying with the Hon'ble Henry Grey Bennet its owner in Florence' - K Webster.
According to the label on the reverse, this sketch was a gift from the artist to Henry Grey Bennet (1777-1836). Henry was the son of Charles Bennet, the fourth Earl of Tankerville, and Emma, daughter of Sir James Colebrooke, 1st Baronet. He was called to the bar in 1803, and was elected MP for Shrewsbury in 1806, however the election was invalidated and he did not regain his seat until 1811. In May 1816, Bennet married Gertrude Frances, the daughter of Lord William Russell, and a great friend of the artist. However Bennet's personal life was unhappy. The death of both of his young children from consumption in 1824 led to a self imposed European exile from where he would never return. His reputation was subsequently ruined by the threat of prosecution for importuning a young male servant at Spa in 1825 and he remained abroad, living at Lake Como, Italy with his wife until his death in 1836. During the 1820's and early 1830's Landseer painted numerous highland landscapes. Many of these sketches were painted outdoors and these works display Landseer's love of his surroundings. The painting contrasts loose, liquid brushstrokes with careful marks to create the textured fur of the dog. Landseer used thin browns, pale greens and umbers in the foreground, and a blue upper half of the composition to allow the white dog to stand out. In this delightful sketch we see the combination of the artist's genius of painting animals with his ability to render landscape in a way that was simple yet still managed to convey the majesty of the landscape.