This was Samuel Dixon's second and more ambitious set of bird pictures, the so-called Foreign and Domestick Birds. They differed from the 1750 set in size and in the complexity of their compositions, some featuring as many as three birds, insects, flowers and fruit, and shells and corals.
Faulkner's Dublin Journal reported on 21 August 1753 that 'Mr Dixon of Capel-street, is designing a most curious large set of Pictures', but it was not until 9 September 1755 that they were finished and ready for distribution to subscribers. Whereas the earlier set had carried a single dedication, each of the twelve now carried an individual dedication, and they represesent a distinguished roll-call of the Irish gentry.
Many of the 1755 works still correspond closely to George Edwards' Natural History of Uncommon Birds, but others such as the canary, goldfinch and bullfinch were not, these would have been commonly encountered as native and caged birds. Interestingly an odd mistake in Edwards' source material which was subsequently acknowleged by the author in later work, was also duly noted in Dixon's execution of the work. Again the works were offered in ebonised and gilt-japanned frames which survive in the present lot.
At the same time Dixon advertised completion of this set he announced his intention of going abroad and thus selling off his stock (excepting the newest work), with auction notices published in January 1756. After an absence of two years Dixon returned, setting up a linen printing works at Leixlip, Co. Kildare, but it appears that this was the last large set of pictures he produced.
Examples from this set are illustrated in Ada K. Longfield, op. cit., 1975, pp. 28-30, figs. 10-12.
A complete set of twelve was sold Christie's, London, 7 June 2007, lot 20 (£108,000).