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Agasse was influenced by his older contemporary George Stubbs who was the greatest of horse-painters. This can be seen in Agasse's highly polished technique and carefully balanced compositions. Like Stubbs, he attempted a broad range of sporting and animal subjects, including portraits of exotic beasts and rural scenes on the periphery of a sporting event. Here, Agasse focuses on the unusual pose of the horse and groom, viewed from behind, rather than on the action of the hare-coursing party seen in the distance. Agasse was Swiss-born but came to England in 1800 under the patronage of Lord Rivers, a noted sportsman. His estate at Stratfield Saye in Hampshire is the probable setting of this scene.

August 2004