(b Geneva, March 24, 1767; d London, Dec 27, 1849).
English painter of Swiss birth. Born into a wealthy and politically influential Huguenot family, Agasse spent his early childhood at the country estate of Crévin, where he may have developed the interest in animals and natural history that was to guide his later career as an artist in England. Agasse trained first at the Ecole du Colibri in Geneva and subsequently in Paris under Jacques-Louis David (beginning in 1787) and possibly under Horace Vernet. His early artistic output consisted chiefly of unpretentious silhouette ‘cut-outs’ in the style of Jean-Daniel Huber. At this time he also undertook a serious study of dissection and veterinary science.
Agasse first visited England in his early 20s, at the invitation of the Hon. George Pitt, 1st Baron Rivers (?1722–1803), whom he had met in either Geneva or Paris c. 1790. He stayed briefly at Rivers’s home, Stratfield Saye, Hants, before returning to Europe for another decade, then emigrated permanently to England in ...