We are grateful to Dr. Marianne Berardi for the following additional information:
Provenance: Dr. Sidney Martin, F.R.S., 51 Wimpole street, London; (+) Christie's, London, 12 December 1924, lot 32 (64 gns. to Lewis and Simmons).
Literature: Colonel M.H. Grant, Rachel Ruysch 1664-1750, F. Lewis, 1956, p. 40, no. 173.
The composition of this picture, and the variety of plants depicted suggest that it was painted between 1690-1696. From approximately 1688 to 1696, Ruysch often composed small- to medium-sized bouquets in front of architectural backgrounds, generally featuring two plain converging walls with cornices and sometimes with a glimpse of sky above the walls. Other compositional features typical of this period are the choice of stone for the ledge, the round, bulbous vase resting near the front edge of the stone, a diagonal slant to the composition, and the placement of large, conspicuous leaves in front of the vase.
In addition, the rarity of many of the plants in the picture, including ornamental peppers, a lotus pod, a Devil's trumpet flower, a stem of figs, a sprig of jasmine, kangaroo paw and a branch of the prickly pear cactus, support this date. Ruysch's introduction of rare and tropical plants in her works probably resulted from her father, Dr. Frederik Ruysch's involvement from 1692 with the first illustrated catalogue of rare, exotic plants at the Amsterdam Botanical Garden, the first volume of which was published in 1696. One of the plants in this depicted here, the Devil's trumpet flower (Datura metel), was in cultivation at the Amsterdam Botanical Garden only after 1689, providing a probable terminus ante quem for this picture