AGASSE, Jacques-Laurent (1767-1849) engraved by J. PORTER
The Rht. Honble. George Pitt Lord Rivers
London: Published by M. Colnaghi, 23 Cockspur Street, May 9, 1827. Mezzotint. Printed on wove paper. In good condition with the exception of some surface soiling in the margins. Crease within center of image. Mended tear on top margin not extending into image. Mended tear on right margin. Fold along bottom margin. Image size: 15 7/8 x 13 inches. Sheet size: 26 1/4 x 20 inches. Plate mark: 19 3/8 x 14 5/8 inches.
A remarkable portrait by James Agasse of his patron George Pitt, the second Baron Rivers, with his two prized greyhounds.
James Laurent Agasse was a noted animal and landscape painter who worked in London at the beginning of the nineteenth century. Agasse was born in Geneva and received his first artistic training there. In 1800 he settled in London at the invitation of his patron the Hon. George Pitt, the second Baron Rivers. While in London he painted a number of fine equestrian and greyhound portraits for Pitt, including this portrait, which is noted as one of his most successful paintings. His devotion to the study of anatomy and his meticulous painting style made him a huge success in England, and he was widely recognized as one of the most adept animal painters of his day. He was a regular exhibitor at the Royal Academy between 1801 and 1845, and this distinguished portrait is a wonderful example of his skillful painting and meticulous anatomical observation. Quoted in the Dictionary of National Biography, the writer of the panegyric states, "that it was not for bread or for grain that he laboured, but that he was urged forward by the resistless force of natural genius."
O'Donoghue, Catalogue of Engraved British Portraits...in the British Museum 1; Lane Sporting Aquatints and their engravers 72-73; Dictionary of National Biography.