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    One of the set of 14 Samuel Dixon bird pictures. (Click on image to enlarge).

    A group of 14 Irish George II embossed bird pictures c1750 by Samuel Dixon has been sold for $98,500 in New York. It happened on the final day of the four day sale of the Safra Collections at Sotheby’s.  The lot had been estimated at  $60,000-90,000.  Samuel Dixon was based on Capel St. in Dublin city centre where he produced embossed papier-mâché pictures of birds and flowers sold in black and gold japanned frames. At the same sale sets of six and four Dixon bird pictures made $15,000 and $31,250 respectively  and a set of Flower pictures sold for $28,125.

    The Burghley Epergne (click on image to enlarge).

    The Burghley Epergne, a masterpiece of the English Rococo from the Safra Collections, made  $950,000. It was created for the distinguished collector and patron Cecil Brownlow, 9th Earl of Exeter (1725-1793), known as Lord Burghley from 1725 to 1754. The design for this centrepiece is in the Louis XV picturesque manner celebrated by the artist and engraver William Hogarth in his Analysis of Beauty published in 1753.  The ornament is inspired  by the writings of Virgil and celebrates the triumph of Venus with the union of Bacchus and Ceres. The evolution of the abundant fruit form, derived from the Louis Quatorze style, can be traced through engravings on the confectioner’s art, especially that of Le Sieur Guilleurs, La Carameliste Française, 1684 re-issued in 1750.

    The four day sale of the Safra Collections brought in  $45,900,064.

    See posts on for October 11 and July 10, 2011.

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