The Smallest Green Red Indian Parakeet and the Little Black, White and Red Indian Creeper

Samuel Dixon

Publication Date: 1750
Condition: Very Good No Binding
From Arader Galleries San Francisco (San Francisco, CA, U.S.A.)

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Samuel Dixon, The Smallest Green and Red Indian Parakeet and the Little Black, White and Red Indian Creeper 1750 series, number III 11” x 8 5/8” During the mid-eighteenth century, Irish artist Samuel Dixon invented and popularized a new painting technique known as basso relievo, most notably used to embellish paintings of natural history subjects, especially birds and flowers. This technique used a copper plate to emboss certain areas of a picture, which was then painted with watercolors and highlighted with gouache. The basso relievo paintings of this era are especially unique because the subject of the painting is three-dimensional. Specific parts of the drawing were molded in relief in order to highlight the subject by making it literally stand out from the paper. Dixon published his first set of twelve basso relievo paintings in 1748. The subject of this first set was flowers derived from Nicholas Roberts’ Variae ac multiformes florum species appressal, published in Paris in 1670. The set was advertised in Faulkner’s Dublin Journal in 1748 to encourage nobles and members of the upper classes to purchase the works, which Dixon believed to be both stylish and practical. Dixon intended his painting to have a dual function. Not only did he want the paintings to be used as decoration, he also believed that they should be used as models to be imitated by amateur embroiderers and needleworkers. In 1750, Dixon produced a second set of basso relievo paintings. This set of twelve focused on foreign birds whose images were derived from George Edwards’ Natural History of Uncommon Birds, published in 1743 and 1751. The work of George Edwards, known as the “Father of British Ornithology,” was also the inspiration for Dixon’s third and final set of basso relievo pictures, Foreign and Domestic Birds, which was devoted to an array of exotic and alluring birds. Interestingly, Dixon did not color his own works. All of the basso relievo pictures were painted by three young artists who lived and worked in Dixon’s home in Dublin. The Dixon paintings are preserved in their original japanned frames, each with a beautiful and lustrously decorated black finish imitating East Asian lacquer. Each of the frames has an inscription on the back, providing the name and a description of the bird. Samuel Dixon undoubtedly brought paintings of birds and flowers into fashion the mid-eighteenth century with these delightful works in the basso relievo style, and other artists imitated his popular technique with much success. Bookseller Inventory # 002554435fra

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Bibliographic Details

Title: The Smallest Green Red Indian Parakeet and ...

Publication Date: 1750

Binding: No Binding

Book Condition:Very Good

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The world's largest selection of the works of John James Audubon, Pierre-Joseph Redoute, Giovanni Battista Piranesi, historically important maps, natural history engravings and watercolors, lithographs of the American West, Californiana, Hawaiiana and Western Americana. Located at 432 Jackson Street in Historic Jackson Square, San Francisco, and online at

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