Flowers in a Glass Vase

Bosschaert spent much of his working life in the town of Middelburg, which was famed for its botanical gardens. Nearly 200 new species of flowers were introduced to the Netherlands during the 17th century, providing constant inspiration for intricate flower paintings by Bosschaert and his contemporaries.

On this small copper panel Bosschaert has painted with great delicacy and precision a bouquet of relatively common flowers – among them tulips, roses, wallflowers, daffodils, and a carnation. He has described them with the precision of a botanical illustrator and yet carefully balanced the composition in terms of form and colour.

In order both to enliven the painting and display his own virtuosity he has added a butterfly, a caterpillar, and a fly. The bouquet is placed in a wine glass or 'roemer' (with its characteristic tear-shaped blobs of glass on the stem) which serves as a vase.

Key facts

Artist dates
1573 - 1621
Full title
Flowers in a Glass Vase
Date made
Medium and support
Oil on copper
26 x 20.5 cm
Inscription summary
Signed; Dated
Acquisition credit
Bequeathed by Mrs Sally Speelman and Mr Anthony Speelman in memory of Mr Edward Speelman, 1994
Inventory number
Location in Gallery