Object Description

A pair of Samuel Dixon ‘basso relievo’ watercolours of birds and flowers each rendered in fine detail with exhaustive explanatory notes and dedications on the reverse. Each one dedicated to a noblewoman, The Duchess of Dorset and the Countess of Kildare.

Each in their original frames

( it is uncommon to find Dixons in polished wood frames as they are usually seen in black chinoiserie ones, but these are undoubtedly their first and original frames)

Ireland circa 1755

Object History

Samuel Dixon (died 1769) was an Irish artist, known for his watercolour paintings and his depictions of flowers and birds in embossed papier mache; he called the process ‘basso relievo’.

Curiously Dixon’s father was a hosier but his brother was also an artist specialising in mezzotint engraving.

In 1748, he was listed as a “picture dealer and painter” in Capel Street, Dublin, Ireland.

Dixon produced sets of twelve hand-coloured basso-relievo prints. He advertised the first, featuring floral arrangements, in Faulkner’s Dublin Journal on 26 April 1748. The next year he followed these with a set of designs copied from volumes 1–4 of George Edward’s Natural History of Uncommon Birds (1743–1751).

towards the end of his life he had a shop in London but returned to Dublin in 1768. He died back in London on 27 January, 1769.

( the same pair but with Chinoiserie frames were sold by Bonhams on 29th January 2007 at their New Bond St salerooms in the THE GENTLEMAN’S LIBRARY FURNISHINGS, SCIENCE, CURIOSITIES AND ECCENTRICITIES sale. They Sold for £14,400 inc. premium) ( But that was another world! )

Object Condition

very good

Object Classification

Dealer Opening Times

By appointment only.

Dealer Contact

Dealer Location

29 Hanover Gardens
London SE11 5TN
United Kingdom