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 Agasse, Jacques Laurent (Swiss artist, 1767-1849) , A Male Quagga from Africa: The First Sire

Core Record

Title A Male Quagga from Africa: The First Sire
Collection Royal College of Surgeons for England
Artist Agasse, Jacques Laurent (Swiss artist, 1767-1849)
Date 1821 (dated)
Description This is one of a series of six paintings of living animals commissioned by Lord Merton for the Royal College of Surgeons by the Swiss artist Jacques-Laurent Agasse. The paintings were commissioned in order to record Lord Merton's experiments on Telegony, the study of whether the womb can be influenced by its past progeny. The animals in the series are mainly shown in profile and, although painted in a manner that reflects that the works are from life, are intended to be seen as scientific records. This is the first painting in the series and shows a male Quagga, a now extinct type of Zebra.
Current Accession Number RCSSC/P 278
Former Accession Number Clift 1820 no. 43; Keith no. 53
Subject animal (Quagga); landscape
Measurements 48.0 x 58 cm.0 cm (estimate)
Material oil on canvas
Acquisition Details Purchased from the artist 1821.
Principal Exhibitions Jacques-Laurent Agasse, 1767-1849, Musée d'Art et d'Histoire, Geneva, 1988-1989 & Tate Gallery, London, 1989, cat. no. 47; Fierce Friends: Artists and Animals, 1750-1900, Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam, 2005-2006 & Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh, 2006, nn.
Publications Clift, W., List of Paintings of the College, unpublished cat., 1820, cat. no. 43, p. 19 as A Male Quagga from Africa; Morton, The Earl of, 'A Communication of a Singular Fact in Natural History'; Philosophical Transactions, London, 1821, vol. 111, pp. 20-22; Keith, A. Illustrated Guide to the Museum of The Royal College of Surgeons, England, London, 1910, pp. 113-4; Keith, A., Sir, Hunterian and Other Pictures in the Museum Collection of the Royal College of Surgeons, London, 1930, cat. no. 53, p. ?; LeFanu, W., A Catalogue of the Portraits and Other Paintings, Drawings and Sculpture in the Royal College of Surgeons of England, Edinburgh & London, 1960, cat. no. 278, p. 91, ill. pl. 278; Jacques-Laurent Agasse, 1767-1849, London, 1988, cat. no. 47, p. 134, p. 140, ill. p.135; Lippincott, L., & Blühm, A., Fierce Friends: Artists and Animals, 1750-1900, London, 2005, pp. 76-7.
Notes Clift added to the 1820 hand-written manuscript as works were acquired. George, 15th Earl of Morton FRS. mated a male Quagga with an Arab mare, and their progeny had 'some of the marks and colour of both parents'. The mare was subsequently mated with an Arab stallion, and three successive foals showed markings which appeared to be like those of the Quagga. It is believed that this painting was based on Aggase's painting of a Quagga of April 1817. The Clift 1820 catalogue p. 19, records the following: 'The following are a Series of Six Pictures Painted from the living Animals for the College in 1821 by Mr. Agasse, to illustrate the history of a male Quagga from Africa, and an Arabian Mare, both formerly the Property of Lord Morton on which subject a paper was read before the Royal Society, on Thursday the .. of 182[?].'
Rights Owner Hunterian Museum at the Royal College of Surgeons
Author Dr Madeleine Korn
 

 

 

 

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