A George III Irish embossed Bird Picture by Samuel Dixon
Lot 82
A George III Irish embossed Bird Picture by Samuel Dixon
Sold for £ 3,360 (US$ 4,351) inc. premium

Lot Details
A George III Irish embossed Bird Picture
by Samuel Dixon
depicting a canary perched on a bough with yellow and white tulips, anemones, hyacinth and daffodils with a bee resting on one of the leaves, within a 19th century carved giltwood and gesso frame, with a Samuel Dixon dedication label to the reverse for the Countess of Kildare, also bearing a handwritten label for 'The Revd F Du Sautoy, Haselbury Vicarage, Nr Crewkerne' and a printed extract from a an auction catalogue 'A pair of very valuable old embossed water color drawings in gilded frames "birds, Flowers and Insects" bought at the Lord Greaves(?) sale in 1790', the front of the frame with a hand written label 'Bought at the Lord Greaves(?) sale about 1790, 39cm wide, 29.5cm high (15" wide, 11.5" high).

Footnotes

  • Provenance:
    Reputedly Lord Greaves and sold circa 1790
    The Rev'd Frederic Du Sautoy, Haselbury Vicarage, Crewkerne, Somerest.

    Samuel Dixon's paper label to the reverse of this embossed picture is in fact that which should accompany a different print from the series 'Foreign and Domestick Birds', depicting a white headed parrot with grapes and vine leaves, the images of the canary was in fact dedicated to the Countess of Cork.

    A native of Dublin, Samuel Dixon specialised in bird and flower paintings issued between 1748-1755. He is associated with the technique of embossed paper pictures known as 'basso relievo'. Copper plates were used to press shaped images into paper which were then painted in gouache or watercolour. Dixon traded from Capel Street, Dublin and in the early 1750's employed three young boy painters to execute his work, James Riley, Gustavus Hamilton and Daniel O'Keefe who also later became miniature painters in their own right. Dixon's first set of twelve formal flower arrangements were advertised in the 26th April 1748 edition of Faulkner's . The success of this set encouraged Dixon to produce a 'set of curious Foreign Bird Pieces', advertised the following year. The designs were taken directly from the first four volumes of George Edward's Natural History of Uncommon Birds, 1743-1751, as were the descriptive printed labels used on the reverse and still present on the pair offered here.

    For a complete set of twelve pictures by Samuel Dixon of 'Foreign and Domestick Birds' see Christie's London, 9th April, 1992, Lot 31. This set also retained their original 18th century black and gilt chinoiseie japanned frames.

    Literature:
    A.Longfield, Samuel Dixon's Embossed Pictures of Flowers and Birds, Irish Georgian Society Bulletin, Oct-Dec 1975, and More About Samuel Dixon and His Imitators, the Quarterly Bulletin of the Irish Society, January-June, 1980.
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