Still Life of Flowers in a Vase
Ambrosius Bosschaert, the elder (Antwerp 1573 – The Hague 1621)
To admire the wonders of nature was a late Renaissance trait, and in the first three decades of the seventeenth century tulips introduced from Turkey, via Vienna, were all the rage. The owners of gardens wished to have their floral treasures perpetuated on canvas, and those without gardens or the means to acquire such expensive rarities could also derive enjoyment from images of painted flowers. Before Bosschaert's time, bouquets in a glass vase were generally used as study pieces, although a few artists had started to treat flower painting as a genre in its own right. Bosschaert, however, introduced a type of flower painting that held the field until the 1650-60s. This painting is a typical example of Bosschaert's type of flower piece, because it shows cultivated flowers placed symmetrically in a roemeror glass vessel, dewdrops and insects, and the vase set against a dark monochrome background. It was not only 1st Lord Fairhaven who collected flower paintings; his brother Henry Broughton, later 2nd Lord Fairhaven, bequeathed an important collection of flower paintings to the Fitzwilliam Museum.
Oil painting on canvas, Flowers in a Vase, by Ambroisus Bosschaert, the elder (Antwerp 1573 – The Hague 1621), inscribed AB. Formerly attributed to Ambrosius Brueghel. An arrangement of densely arranged flowers, in a green glass vase (roemer), the flowers include tulips and fritillary carnations, roses and irises. The vase is standing on a white ledge. A couple of petals, violet head, carnation and fly adorn the shelf. It is also populated with a beetle and a butterfly. Label on frame 'Ambrosius Bosschaert, active 1588-1640'. .
Date of acquisition by Lord Fairhaven unknown. Bequeathed to the National Trust by Huttleston Rogers Broughton, 1st Lord Fairhaven (1896-1966) with the house and the rest of the contents.
Anglesey Abbey, The Fairhaven Collection (National Trust)
Marks and inscriptions
Recto: AB (monogram) similar in style to Albert Dürer’s monogram. Recto: Inscribed gilt tablet affixed to bottom of frame: Ambrosious Bosschaert, active 1588-1640
Makers and roles
Ambrosius Bosschaert, the elder (Antwerp 1573 – The Hague 1621), artist previously catalogued as attributed to Ambrosius Brueghel (Antwerp 1617 - Antwerp 1675), artist
Antique Collector, December 1951: The Antique Collector, Vol.22, No.6, December, 1951, p.239 (attrib. to A. Breughel) Bol, 1960: Laurens Johannes Bol, The Bosschaert dynasty; Painters of flowers and fruit, 1960., The Humanist Revival: Anglesey Abbey, 1990-1992 [The National Trust; Robin Fedden] 1972, revised 1990, reprinted 1992., p.16: Anglesey Abbey, 2006 [The National Trust] 2002, revised 2006, p.8: