Louis Rodolphe Agassiz (1807-1873) was a Swiss-born American naturalist and glaciologist.
This portrait is from the collection of ‘highly finished steel engravings’ included in the two volume series, Portrait Gallery of Eminent Men and Women (1872-1873). The well crafted engravings are after photographic portraits of the subjects by noted photographers such as William Downey, Napoleon Sarony, John Mayall, Antoine Claudet, Maull & Polyblank.
The London commercial photographers Maull & Polyblank founded in 1854 by Henry Maull & George Henry Polyblank had studios on Gracechurch Street and on Piccadilly. Like most London studios in the era before the carte-de-visite, Maull & Polyblank specialized in large-format portraits. Their most notable body of work, Photographic Portraits of Living Celebrities, published from 1856 to 1859, included forty individual portraits with accompanying biographies, issued to subscribers over a period of forty-one months and eventually bound in a single volume, a practice popular in the 1850s and 1860s. The firm continued under this name until 1866 after which it became known as Maull & Co and, after 1879, Maull & Fox.