Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 32.djvu/60

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Landor
Landor
54

less copious than formerly, but included an unacted tragedy, ‘Castruccio Castracani,’ 1837, ‘The Vow of the Peacock,’ 1835, ‘Traits and Trials of Early Life’ (supposed to be in part autobiographical), 1836, and ‘Ethel Churchill,’ the best of her novels, 1837. ‘The Zenana, and other Poems,’ chiefly made up from contributions to annuals, appeared in 1839, immediately after her death, and a posthumous novel, ‘Lady Granard,’ was published in 1842. Collected editions of ‘L. E. L.'s’ verse appeared in 1838 at Philadelphia, in 1850 and 1873 in London, the last edited by W. Bell Scott.

As a poetess Letitia Elizabeth Landon can only rank as a gifted improvisatrice. She had too little culture, too little discipline, too low an ideal of her art, to produce anything of very great value. All this she might and probably would have acquired under happier circumstances. She had genuine feeling, rich fancy, considerable descriptive power, great fluency of language, and, as Mr. Mackenzie Bell points out, a real dramatic instinct when dealing with incident. Her diffuseness is the common fault of poetesses, and in this and in other respects her latest productions manifest considerable improvement. If not entitled to a high place in literature upon her own merits, she will nevertheless occupy a permanent one as a characteristic representative of her own time, and will always interest by her truth of emotion, no less than by the tragedy and mystery of her death.

A portrait of Miss Landon by Maclise was engraved by Edward Finden for her ‘Traits and Trials.’ Another portrait by Maclise is in the ‘Maclise Portrait Gallery’ (ed. Bates). An engraving by Wright appeared in the ‘New Monthly Magazine’ for May 1837.

[Blanchard's Life and Remains of L. E. L., 1841; Jerdan's Autobiog.; Chorley's Memoirs; S. C. Hall's Book of Memories; Grantley Berkeley's Recollections; Madden's Memoirs of Lady Blessington; Mackenzie Bell in Miles's Poets and Poetry of the Century; Gent. Mag. 1839, pt. i. pp. 150, 212; L'Estrange's Friendships of Mary Russell Mitford, i. 126, 169, 231, ii. 48, 50; and his Life of Miss Mitford, iii. 93, 119; Father Prout's Reliques, i. 214, ii. 189.]

R. G.

LANDOR, ROBERT EYRES (1781– 1869) author. [See under Landor, Walter Savage.]

LANDOR, WALTER SAVAGE (1775–1864), author of 'Imaginary Conversations' born on 30 Jan. 1775, was the eldest son of Walter Landor, by his second wife, Elizbeth, daughter of Charles Savage. The Landors had been settled for some generations at Rugeley, Staffordshire. Their descendant's fancy ennobled his ancestry, and he believed, gratuitously as it seems, that one of his mother's ancestors was Arnold Savage, speaker of the House of Commons in the reign of Henry VII. The elder Landor was a physician, but after coming to his inheritance, resigned his practice, living partly at Warwick, and partly at Ipsley Court, his second wife's property. By his first wife he had one daughter, married to her cousin, Humphry Arden, who inherited her mother's property. His own estates in Staffordshire were entailed upon his eldest son. His second wife was coheiress with her three sisters of their father, Charles Savage, who had only a small estate; but after her marriage she inherited from two great-uncles, wealthy London merchants, the Warwickshire estates of Ipsley Court and Tachbrook, which had formerly belonged to the Savages. These estates were also entailed upon the eldest son. The other children of the marriage were Elizabeth Savage (1776-1854), Charles Savage (1777-1849), who held the family living of Colton, Staffordshire, Mary Anne (1778-1818), Henry Eyres (1780-1866), a solicitor, Robert Eyres (1781-1869), rector of Birlingham, Worcestershire, and Ellen (1783-1835) (see Burke, History of the Commoners, 1838). They depended for their fortunes upon their mother, and had an interest in the estate of Hughenden Manor, which had been left to her and her three sisters. The daughters all died unmarried.

Walter Savage Landor was sent to a school at Knowle, ten miles from Warwick, when under five years of age. At the age of ten he was transferred to Rugby, then under Dr. James. He was a sturdy, though not specially athletic lad, and famous for his skill in throwing a net, in which he once enveloped a farmer who objected to his fishing. He was, however, more given to study, and soon became renowned for his skill in Latin verse. He refused to compete for a prize, in spite of the entreaties of his tutor, John Sleath, afterwards prebendary of St. Paul's, to whom he refers affectionately in later years (Works, iv. 400). His perversities of temper soon showed themselves. He took offence because James, when selecting for approval some of his Latin verses, chose as Landor thought, the worst. Landor resented this by adding some insulting remarks in a fair copy, and after another similar offence James requested that he might be removed in order to avoid the necessity of expulsion. He was placed accordingly about 1791, under Mr. Langley, vicar of Ashbourne, Derbyshire, whose amiable simplicity he has commemorated in the dialogue between Isaak Walton, Cotton, and Oldways.