An exceptional example of Jan van Huysum's early work, this picture is datable between the artist's earliest dated painting, a flower piece of 1706 in the Lille Museum (inv. no. 974), and another of 1714 in the Karlsruhe Kunsthalle (inv. no. 380). It is thus contemporary with van Huysum's well-known flower piece in the National Gallery, London (inv. no. 1001). The palette of soft, rather cool greens, bright blue and various soft pink tones is completely characteristic of this phase in the painter's development, as is the somewhat wavy signature with a rounded initial 'J'. The composition still betrays the influence of Jan's father, Justus van Huysum, whose preference for large, waxy-looking foliage is also a feature of Jan's early work.
Somewhat earlier is a flower piece in the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge (M.H. Grant, Jan van Huysum, Leigh-on-Sea, 1954, no. 208) and slightly later a bouquet in the Glasgow Art Gallery, no. 77 (ibid., no. 72) and another sold at Christie's, New York, 16 January 1992, lot 98. The three flowers at upper left in the latter are repeated from the present painting.
We are grateful to Fred Meijer for his help in the cataloguing of this picture.