The unlikely setting and assemblage of birds is typical of the fanciful subject matter of these kinds of paintings. Of the birds represented here, the black kite hovering over the decorative domestic fowl on a formal terrace is the only one then native to Britain; the others are all ornamental varieties introduced from abroad. At left are a common turkey and a female domestic fowl with two frightened chicks. On the minuscule pond are a white ornamental duck and an Egyptian goose (a member of the shelduck family) with five ducklings. The male domestic fowl on the parapet is probably an ornamental Polish variety, and the parakeet flapping its wings on the urn was probably an introduction from America. The landscape beyond the terrace affords a glimpse of classical buildings and a formal flower-bed laid out around a circular basin.
Ellis K. Waterhouse, A Dictionary of British 18th Century Painters, Woodbridge, Suffolk 1981, p.150, reproduced
The Tate Gallery 1984-86: Illustrated Catalogue of Acquisitions, London 1988, p.70, reproduced