"There's No Place Like Home." Sir Edwin Landseer, R.A. c.1840. Source: No Place Like Home and Other Landseer Pictures. [Click on this and the following image to enlarge them.]

The title of the work comes from the popular ballad, Home, Sweet Home, specifically the lines, "Be it never so humble, there's no place like home." Landseer's early biographer, Frederick G. Stephens, described the painting thus:

A spaniel cowers at the entrance of liis home in a quiver of glad recognition of the shelter; he looks up with a whimper, and gleefully wags his tail, for the beast has been a vagrant. In the foreground occurs one of those little points of by-play such as often occur in Landseer's designs. Here a snail, who does not quit his home, but rather carries it on his back, is travelling slowly and noiselessly towards the water-dish of the spaniel. [84-85]

In its note on the original painting, the Victoria and Albert Gallery refers to the Art Union's enthusiastic response to it in 1842, quoting its much more accurate description of the dog as "a contritely repentant absentee in the shape of a little rough terrier, that has evidently been sometime stray" (emphasis added). The note also makes an important additional point, that the painting "may also be seen as an appropriate, canine comment on the so-called 'hungry forties' in Britain." Perhaps the seemingly sentimental composition carries a message of sympathy and encouragement for those caught up in these difficult times.

Steel engraving by C. G. Lewis "from a picture in the Sheepshanks Gallery" (the collection now in the Victoria and Albert Museum) from The Art Journal, 1878. Credit: antiqueprints.com, via (offsite) Ancestry Images.

The rather highly coloured reproduction in the toy book has been adjusted to fit the page of the book should be compared to Lewis's faithful engraving of the original. These two versions appropriately suggest the popularity and widespread dispersal of the work.

Text and formatting and text by Jacqueline Banerjee. You may use these images without prior permission for any scholarly or educational purpose as long as you (1) credit the source in each case and (2) link your document to this URL in a web document or cite the Victorian Web in a print one.]

Related Material


No Place Like Home and Other Landseer Pictures. London and New York: Thomas Nelson & Sons (Toy Book series), nd. Internet Archive. Contributed by the San Francisco Public Library. Web. 1 November 2016.

Stephens, Frederick George. Sir Edwin Landseer. London: S. Low, Marston, Searle & Rivington, 1880. Internet Archive. Contributed by the Getty Research Institute. Web. 1 November 2016.

"There's No Place Like Home." V&A. Web. 1 November 2016.

Created 1 November 2016