(b London, 1756; d London, Jan 7, 1811).
English painter and art collector of Swiss descent. Born to a family of Swiss watchmakers in London, Bourgeois was apprenticed as a boy to P. J. de Loutherbourg. The latter heavily influenced his art, which was to elevate him to membership of the Royal Academy in 1793. Bourgeois specialized in landscape and genre scenes and achieved recognition in his own day with works such as Tiger Hunt and William Tell (both c. 1790; London, Dulwich Pict. Gal.), but his works are no longer regarded as of any note.
Bourgeois was linked from an early age with Noël Desenfans, who in effect adopted him when his father left London for Switzerland. Desenfans promoted Bourgeois’s reputation as an artist and involved him in his own activities as a picture dealer. Bourgeois became passionately interested in buying paintings, and in the last 15 years of his life bought considerable numbers, sometimes creating financial problems for the partnership. His taste was characteristic of the traditional Grand Manner of his time, concentrating on the great names of the 16th and 17th centuries, particularly academic works and paintings of the Netherlandish schools....