British School (19th Century) – Meg Merrilies

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Black and white chalk on taupe paper, unsigned. Inscribed Meg Merrilies in pencil, on reverse. Mounted. Provenance: John F. C. Phillips, inscribed in pencil on back of the mount: Charles Landseer, R.A. Meg Merrilies [Sir Walter Scott. Guy Mannering, Chapter 8.] Condition: A few short tears around the borders have been professionally repaired while the paper although strong and stable has been left uncleaned.


Meg Merrilies (in Sir W. Scott’s Guy Mannering). This character was based on that of Jean Gordon, an inhabitant of the village of Kirk Yetholm, in the Cheviot Hills, in the middle of the eighteenth century. A sketch of Jean Gordon’s life will be found in Blackwood’s Magazine, vol. i. p. 54. She is a half-crazy sibyl or gipsy.

Charles Landseer (1799 – 1879) was the second son of the engraver John Landseer, and the elder brother of the animal painter, Sir Edwin Landseer. He trained under his father, and the painter Benjamin Robert Haydon. He was awarded the silver palette of the Royal Society of Arts for a drawing of Laocoon in 1815, and in 1816 he entered the Royal Academy Schools where he was taught by Henry Fuseli.

Charles Landseer would seem likely to be the author of the work although the style of the drawing appears closer to Fuseli. Unfortunately as yet no illustration or reproduction of the drawing has been found to support an attribution.

Additional information


12 7/8 in x 9 1/2 in. (32.7 cm x 24 cm.)

Frame or Mount

20 3/4 in x 16 1/4 in. (52.6 cm x 41.4 cm.)




Unidentified / Unknown Artist