Simon Verelst, Tulips

Simon Verelst, Tulips

Simon Verelst (1644-1721)
Tulips, Tulipa sp
Late 17th or early 18th century
Watercolour Museum no. 263-1876

These studies of tulips are clearly intended for a decorative rather than a scientific purpose. Simon Verelst was a noted Dutch painter of flower pieces, decorative compositions in which the artist brought together flowers that would never bloom simultaneously in nature. To create such a composition an artist would work through the seasons to build up a collection of drawings and watercolour studies, such as this, to work from. We know that it was a widespread practice for artists to work from their own 'library' of sketches because it is sometime possible to identify the same specimen in a finished oil painting or to find the same flower repeated in different paintings.

This study may well have been painted in England. Verelst was born in the Hague in 1644, but he came to London in 1669 and stayed until his death in 1721. At the height of his career he had a number of important patrons among the English aristocracy, and King Charles II bought several of his paintings.

This drawing can be found in Print Room Box DP1.