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A pair of prints of early-16th century Tulip varieties
- [Frankfurt or Amsterdam: circa 1612-1647]. Copper engravings, with expert modern hand-colouring. 13 1/4 x 8 1/8 inches approx. 14 1/8 x 9 1/8 inches approx. (visible area). Framed and glazed. A fine highly decorative pair of 17th-century tulip portraits from Sweert's 'Florilegium' The Dutch florist Emanuel Sweert produced his 'Florilegium' at the behest of the Emperor Rudolf II of Austria. Six editions were published in Frankfurt (1) or Amsterdam (5) between 1612 and about 1647. The present pair of Tulip prints are amongst the most beautiful of the images produced for the 'Florilegium': the flowers of 24 varieties are shown with brief explanatory text beneath each one, all beautifully arranged in ranks that echo the patterned precision with which they were grown by 17th-century gardeners. Tulips today are highly appreciated for the joyful range of colours and the elegant shapes they present in early spring. At the time when the present images were printed, Tulips were the main horticultural obsession. Their growing was essentially a pastime for the rich and powerful. The search for new varieties (particularly the bi-colour or 'broken' varieties) reached its zenith in Amsterdam in the 1620s and 1630s with a sort of 'dot-com' speculation and investment frenzy when individual bulbs fetched more than a medium-sized house. Cf. Hunt 196; cf. Nissen BBI 1920 &1922; cf. Stafleu & Cowan TL2 13.546
      [Bookseller: Donald A. Heald Rare Books (ABAA)]
Last Found On: 2013-08-01           Check availability:      AbeBooks    

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