The Gallery holds the most extensive collection of portraits in the world. Search over 215,000 works, 150,000 of which are illustrated from the 16th Century to the present day.

Advanced Collection search

Later Victorian Portraits Catalogue

Richard Ansdell (1815-1885), Animal painter

Animal painter; born 11 May 1815 in Liverpool. Trained with portraitist W.C. Smith and at Liverpool Academy from 1835, made his name with portraits of sitters with horses and cattle; then in Scotland with stags and sheep. Retaining a deep love of Scotland, he also visited Spain in 1856 and 1857, resulting in scenes of ‘the sunny South (Spanish subjects, including mules) and a richer tone of colouring’. [1] Exh. RA 1840–85, including Hunted Slaves (RA 1861), a protest painting against US slavery; President, Liverpool Academy 1845–6; elected ARA 1861; RA 1870; died 20 April 1885 near Farnborough, Surrey.

In 1876, he was said to be ‘highly popular. He has worked hard and well and his present position – a very popular one – is due to honest work … his pictures sell well, and occupy good positions in many of our best private galleries. Art has done well for Mr Ansdell and he has not proved ungrateful.’ [2] Temperamentally he was described as ‘a man of iron nerve, whom no fatigue, no misfortune or annoyance could perturb – proud, resolute and self-relying’; also ‘genial, most unaffectedly kindly and good-natured, but there was a proud spirit … any slights or undue familiarities he resented vehemently and did not easily forgive’. [3]

Dr Jan Marsh

Footnotesback to top

1) ILN, 23 Feb. 1861, p.176.
2) Anon, ‘Men & Women of the Day no.xliv’, Hornet, 22 Nov. 1876, p.260.
3) Hodgson 1889, at p.388.

Referencesback to top

Ansdell 1985
Richard Ansdell: A Centenary Exhibition, exh. cat, Richard Green Gallery, London, 1985.

Bills and Webb 2007
Bills, M., and D. Webb, eds., Victorian Artists in Photographs: [The World of G.F. Watts]. Selections from the Rob Dickins Collection, exh. cat., Watts Gallery, Compton, 2007.

Cooper 1876–83
Cooper, T., Men of Mark: A Gallery of Contemporary Portraits of Men Distinguished in the Senate, the Church, in Science, Literature and Art, the Army, Navy, Law, Medicine, etc. Photographed from life by Lock and Whitfield, London, 7 ser., 1876–83.

Egerton 2004
Egerton, J. ‘Ansdell, Richard (1815–1885)’, ODNB, Oxford, 2004.

Gould 2004
Gould, V.F., G.F. Watts: The Last Great Victorian, London, 2004.

Gunnis 1953
Gunnis, R., Dictionary of British Sculptors 1660–1851, London, 1953.

Hacking 1998
Hacking, J.L., ‘Photography Personified: Art and Identity in British Photography 1857–1869’, unpublished doctoral thesis, Courtauld Institute, University of London, 1998.

Hacking 2000
Hacking, J., Princes of Victorian Bohemia: Photographs by David Wilkie Wynfield, exh. cat., NPG, London, 2000.

Hodgson 1889
Hodgson, J.E., ‘An Artist’s Holidays’, Magazine of Art, 1889, pp.385–91.

Maas 1984
Maas, J., The Victorian Art World in Photographs, London, 1984.

McMaster 2008
McMaster, J., ‘That Mighty Art of Black-and-White: Linley Sambourne, Punch and the Royal Academy’, British Art Journal, Autumn 2008, pp.62–76.

McMaster 2009
McMaster, J., That Mighty Art of Black-and-White: Linley Sambourne, Punch and the Royal Academy, Edmonton, Canada, 2009.

Morris & Roberts 1998
Morris, E., and E. Roberts, The Liverpool Academy and Other Exhibitions of Contemporary Art in Liverpool 1774–1867, Liverpool, 1998.

Ormond 2010
Ormond, L., Linley Sambourne: Illustrator and Punch Cartoonist, London, 2010.

Reeve & Walford 1863–7
Reeve, L., and E. Walford, eds, Portraits of Men of Eminence in literature, science and art, with biographical memoirs. The photographs from life, by E. Edwards, 6 vols, London, 1863–7.

Todd 1919
Todd, A., The Life of Richard Ansdell. With especial reference to his sojourn in Lytham, and the reasons why part of that district was named after this Artist, Manchester, 1919.