The Toy Boat, by Jacques Laurent Agasse (1767-1849)

Christopher Nowak
Nov 19, 2013 9:50PM

Available from Vintage Views is this oil on canvas entitled The Toy Boat, attributed to the Swiss-born painter, Jacques Laurent Agasse (1767-1849).  Modern giltwood frame measures 40.75" by 50" by 3". Stretcher measures 32" by 41.25". Provenance: Frost and Reed, Bristol England (circa 1881); R. Steinberg Sokoloff, New York, NY. There is a very old repair to the canvas on verso in the lower right corner, and suspected in-painting on front over this area. We have not inspected the work under UV light. Canvas resides on its original stretcher with original nails. The original inventory label from Frost and Reed remains affixed to the stretcher. No signature nor monogram have been found. The Frost & Reed paper label on rear contains the artist's name, the registered stock number (W38), the work's title, and a signature which appears to be that of Walter Frost, who assumed control of the gallery following the death of his uncle, John Frost, in 1875. The "FR" initials on the label dates it to as early as 1881, when Walter Frost and William Reed renamed the business Frost and Reed. However, this does not necessarily rule out possibility the dealer obtained the piece at an earlier date, as the firm was founded in 1808 and was trading in fine art for many decades prior to 1881. This work is believed to date from 1820 to 1840 and depicts six children of various ages playing with toy sailboats along the edge of a pond or stream. Quite possibly the work was inspired by or depicts the children of George Booth. Agasse moved to London in 1802 and lived in a number of places until settling into the mews at 4 Newman Street in 1810. Booth was his landlord for twenty-five years and became a close friend. Booth's eldest child, Lionel, was born in 1814 and he and his siblings regarded Agasse as an uncle. They are known to have both inspired and served as models for some of his figural genre paintings.

Christopher Nowak
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