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Beauty, Rarity, History...The M.S. Rau Antiques Blog

Bill Rau

M.S. Rau Antiques

Led by third-generation owner and published fine art expert Bill Rau, M.S. Rau Antiques has grown by leaps and bounds since his grandfather Max Rau opened the doors in 1912 to a then-small antiques store in the heart of New Orleans' historic French Quarter. Bill's extensive knowledge and reputation as a leader places him among the most respected antique experts and gallery owners today.

A New Orleans institution for over 100 years, M.S. Rau Antiques is among the premier antiques galleries in the world. Located in the heart of the French Quarter, our 25,000 square foot gallery overflows with incredible antiques by names including Tiffany & Co., Paul Revere and Fabergé. Our unparalleled selection of important, original paintings and sculpture spans the 16th through the 21st century, created by legendary artists such as Brueghel, Monet and Rockwell, and our diverse selection of exquisite jewels, including rare colored diamonds, Kashmir sapphires and Burma rubies is without equal.

Power and Majesty: Sir Edwin Henry Landseer's Royal Equine Portrait

This incredible portrait was commissioned as a Royal gift from Princess Charlotte to her lady-in-waiting, Lady Barbara Ponsonby.
This incredible portrait was commissioned as a Royal gift from Princess Charlotte to her lady-in-waiting, Lady Barbara Ponsonby.
(M.S. Rau Antiques, New Orleans)
  • Painted when Landseer was just 22 years old, this portrait marked the beginning of his career as a favorite of the Royal Family, particularly Queen Victoria.

    Painted when Landseer was just 22 years old, this portrait marked the beginning of his career as a favorite of the Royal Family, particularly Queen Victoria.

    M.S. Rau Antiques, New Orleans

Strength. Agility. Elegance. No other animal has shaped the course of history like the horse. Domesticated approximately 6,000 years ago, the horse gave humanity a new way to interact with the world around them. By harnessing this amazing creature’s speed, power and genteel nature, people were able to travel great distances, conquer new territories and work the land in ways never-before possible. It is this legendary power and spirit that English animal portraitist Sir Edwin Henry Landseer captured in every masterpiece he composed.

The son of an accomplished engraver, Landseer demonstrated a gift for painting at an early age, showcasing his first works at the prestigious Royal Academy at just 13 years old. It was also at this early stage in the artist’s career that his brilliance in portraying animals became clear. His undeniable talents soon attracted the attentions of the Royal family, with whom Landseer would remain a favorite, especially to Queen Victoria.

At the age of 22, Landseer was commissioned by Princess Charlotte, daughter of King George III, to paint Portrait of an Arab Mare with her Foal as a gift to her lady-in-waiting, Lady Barbara Ponsonby.

The artist dutifully captures the mare and her foal at a watering hole, her divine white coloring contrasting with her offspring’s rich mahogany coat, as they gaze at the viewer with a guarded curiosity. The anatomy of Landseer’s subjects is precisely executed and clearly well researched, as it is well known the artist participated in scientific dissections early in his artistic training to better understand animal musculature.

Exhibited at the Royal Academy and held within Ponsonby’s family for generations, this masterpiece is one of the handful of the artist’s major works available for acquisition. Its undeniable beauty, rarity and provenance make it one of the most important animal portraits to come on the market in decades. 

Landseer’s paintings, including the 40 he would execute for Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, are found in prestigious art collections throughout the world, including Buckingham Palace, the Wallace Collection, the Victoria and Albert Museum and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. Within every painting, each brushstroke conveys the artist’s unwavering adoration of and unquestionable genius for portraying the loyalty, beauty and power of this grand animal.

Learn more about this important Landseer portrait.

About M.S. Rau Antiques:
M.S. Rau Antiques has spent over 100 years earning the trust of discerning collectors world-wide. Located in the heart of New Orleans’ historic French Quarter, our peerless showroom houses one of the world’s most extensive and stunning collections of important fine art by artists such as Monet and van Gogh, rare 18th-and 19th-century antiques and breathtaking jewelry, including rare colored diamonds.

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