Jan van Huysum was the last of the distinguished still life painters active in the Northern Netherlands in the 17th and early 18th centuries, and an internationally celebrated artist in his lifetime. Although he specialised in flower still lifes, van Huysum also painted a few landscapes.
His early works are more concentrated in design than his elaborate later paintings, like the Gallery's Flowers in a Terracotta Vase, with its lighter background and superabundance of detail.
Van Huysum was a native of Amsterdam and was trained, according to Arnold Houbraken, by his father, who was also a still life painter. His first dated work is of 1706.
Van Huysum often travelled to horticultural centres like Haarlem so he could make sketches of rare and unusual flowers. During his lifetime, his flower paintings were sold for as much as 2,000 guilders, and he had famous patrons including the Duc d’Orléans, William VIII, Landgrave of Hesse-Kassel, and Sir Robert Walpole.