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Balthasar van der Ast (Middelburg 1593/4-1657 Delft)
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Balthasar van der Ast (Middelburg 1593/4-1657 Delft)

Lilies, roses, irises, tulips, narcissi, carnations and other flowers in a Chinese celadon ormulu-mounted vase, with a squirrel monkey, apricots, grapes, walnuts and a plum on stone ledge

Details
Balthasar van der Ast (Middelburg 1593/4-1657 Delft)
Lilies, roses, irises, tulips, narcissi, carnations and other flowers in a Chinese celadon ormulu-mounted vase, with a squirrel monkey, apricots, grapes, walnuts and a plum on stone ledge
signed and dated '·Balthasaer · vander · Ast · fecit· an° · 1620' (lower left)
oil on panel
50 x 31½ in. (127.4 x 81 cm.)
Special Notice

No VAT will be charged on the hammer price, but VAT at 17.5% will be added to the buyer's premium which is invoiced on a VAT inclusive basis.

Lot Essay

The composition of this picture derives from a work of the same date by Ambrosius Bosschaert I, Van der Ast's elder brother-in-law and his teacher, on a similarly sized panel (Nationalgalerie, Stockholm). The early date of this work makes it likely that this was Van der Ast's last production in Bosschaert's workshop, and his first flower piece.

The same amaryllis that appears in the present picture is illustrated, probably for the first time, in a painting of 1617 by the elder Bosschaert. It may be a South African species, differing from the richer flower garden varieties, showing strong similarities with the Hippeastrum species from South America. The tulip numbered 48 in the key is also present in the 1617 work and is, probably, the first illustrated example of a predominately green tulip, a forerunner of parrot tulips.

The 'Iberian Iris' is a hybrid of two related plants: the blue, or violet, Spanish Iris (Iris xiphium) and the yellow Portuguese Iris (Iris lusitanica). It appears in many Netherlandish seventeenth-century flower pieces, but is unknown in the botanical literature (see S. Segal, Flowers and Nature, The Hague, 1990, p. 208, no. 1). The Squirrel Monkey is a species indigenous to Central and South America; one of the breed was kept in the zoological garden of the Emperor Rudolph II in Prague, and was drawn for him at the beginning of the seventeenth century (Österreichische Nationalbibliothek, Vienna, Cod. Min. 129, fol. 49).

Key:
1. Carnation Dianthus caryophyllus plenus albo-rubescens
2. Sowbread (foliage) Cyclamen hederifolium
3. White Rose Rosa x alba subplena
4. Tulip Tulipa stellata x T.schrenkii
5. African Marigold Tagete patula
6. Liverwort Hepatica nobilis plena
7. French Rose Rosa gallica ad R. x provincialis
8. White Narcissus Narcissus poeticus plenus
9. Poppy Anemone Anemone coronaria bicolor striata
10. Kingcup Caltha palustris plena
11. Tulip Tulipa clusiana x t.undulatifolia
12. Pride Anemone Anemone pavonina
13. Tulip Tulipa clusiana x T.schrenkii
14. Stock Matthiola incana
15. Red Turban Cup Lily Lilium chalcedonicum
16. Brush Anemone Anemone hortensis plena
17. Stock Matthiola incana parva alba
18. Tulip Tulipa acumniata x T.agenensis
19. Siberian Iris Iris sibirica
20. Tulip Tulipa chrysantha x T.agenensis
21. Variegated Iris Iris variegata
22. Columbine Aguilegia vulgaris caesia
23. Hollyhock Alcea rosea plena rubra
24. German Flag Iris germanica
25. Pyrenean Lily Lilium pyrenaicum
26. Dog's Tooth Violet Erythronium dens-canis
27. White Lily Lilium candidum
28. Batavian Rose Rosa gallica cv.Batava [cv.=culture variety]
29. Orange Lily Lilium bulbiferum
30. Martagon Lily Lilium martagon
31. Peony Paeonia officinalis plena
32. Red Catchfly Lychnis viscaria
33. Belladona Lily Amaryllis belladona
34. Tulip Tulipa stellata x T.schrenkii
35. Damask Rose Rosa x damascena
36. Iberian Iris Iris x iberica
37. Snake's Head Fritillary Fritallaria meleagris
38. Dwarf Iris Iris pumila
39. Tulip Tulipa chrysantha x T.praecox
40. Primrose Narcissus Narcissus x biflorus
41. Tulip Tulipa clusiana x T.stellata
42. Lavender Cotton (foliage) Santolina chamaecyparissus
43. Narcissus'Double Kampernel' Narcissus x odorus plenus
44. Columbine Aquilegia vulgaris
45. Poppy Anemone Anemone coronaria pseudoplena
46. Narcissus 'Angel's Tears' Narcissus triandrus
47. Tulip Tulipa mucronata x T.clusiana
48. Tulip Tulipa viridiflora x T.stapfii
49. Provins Rose Rosa x provincialis
50. Carnation Dianthus caryophyllus plenus bicolor

51. Walnuts Juglans regia
52. White Grapes Vitis vinifera
53. Peach Prunus persica
54. Apricots Prunus armeniaca

a. Squirrel Monkey Saimiri sciureus
b. Speckled Wood Pararge aegeria
c. Caterpillar Magpie Moth Abraxas grossulariata

We are grateful to Dr. Sam Segal for his assistance in cataloguing this lot.
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