This painting, exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1842, is by Swiss-born artist Jacques-Laurent Agasse, who spent most of his career in Britain. The fishmonger’s shop is apparently depicted with considerable accuracy and attention to detail, as each type of fish can be identified. However, intriguingly, no fishmonger by the name of 'John Young & Sons' is listed in London street directories of the period.
Jacques-Laurent Agasse was born to a merchant family in Geneva. He moved to Paris in 1786, where he entered the studio of Jacques-Louis David and also took courses in anatomy and dissection. In 1789, he returned to Geneva where he first met George Pitt (later Lord Rivers), his foremost patron. Rivers encouraged Agasse to visit England and he settled in London in 1800, initially staying with the Chalons, a Swiss family whose sons, John James and Alfred Edward, were students at the Royal Academy. Agasse exhibited at the Academy from 1801 to 1845. Many of his paintings were commissions for equestrian portraits from members of the British elite, although from 1822 he turned increasingly to genre painting and portraits.
With Spink and Son, London; sold through Christie's, London 15 April 1988 (Lot 71); sold through Christie's, London, 'British Pictures 1500-1850', 16 June 2005 (Lot 308); from which purchased by the Government Art Collection
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