These magnificent dishes would have formed part of a much larger set, presenting a splendid appearance for the dessert course at a regal banquet. Richard Dodson specialized in painting birds in their natural habitat and in colors that are a little brighter than they are lifelike, so these dishes can be attributed to him. The birds seem active and energetic, not posed stiffly for a portrait. The demand for bird decoration must have been great, especially when the results were this stunning. Imagine a whole service like these, displayed in a china cabinet. Derby broke new ground in the extravagant richness of its artistry. These dishes are eleven by eleven and a half inches and are in excellent condition. One has some gilding rubs on two corners, and one has a couple of small enamel chips in the sky and overall light crazing, which is common on pieces from this period. Since the elaborate gilded borders, also a source of great interest, were designed to be different on each of the matching dishes of a set, as here, it was termed a harlequin service.
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