The nosegay arranged on a marble or stone tabletop was developed as a genre of flower painting by Willem van Aelst, and several of his pupils, including Ernst Stuven, also painted them in his manner. It was Rachel Ruysch, van Aelst's pupil from c. 1679 until c. 1683, the year that he is believed to have died, who, however, popularized the genre. She turned the nosegay into a very personal art form, her examples being notably more intimate than those of van Aelst and giving more of an impression of casual arrangement. The sixteen nosegays by Ruysch currently known seem to have all been executed in the first two decades of her career, the 1680s and 1690s, and in the last, the 1740s. The present picture is the earliest dated example and indeed the only dated one from the 1680s recorded.
The composition has hitherto only been known from a copy of poor quality, measuring 18.5 x 16.5cm., sold at Lempertz, Cologne, 5 June 1975, lot 210, illustrated.
We are grateful to Marianne Berardi for the above information. The present painting will be included in the catalogue raisonné of Ruysch's work which she is writing as her doctoral dissertation.