This picture features in the artist’s record under the year 1829: ‘The Elk, male and female, 20 x 24 inches’. This is the only known depiction by Agasse of this Nordic animal. He would have been able to admire elk specimen at Edward Cross’s menagerie at Exeter Exchange in the Strand, London. A symbol of England’s Imperial might and an embodiment of the curiosity of the scientific age, Cross’s proclaimed mission was ‘to procure rare and exotic animals, from every region of the Globe, for the information and entertainment of my countrymen’. Agasse frequently visited the site and made life drawings of the animals, which he would later use as a basis for his paintings.
We are grateful to Renée Loche for confirming the attribution on the basis of photographs.