DUTCH SCHOOL, CIRCA 1700
A Tulip Study
watercolor with body-color on white paper
9 ¾ x3 5/8 inches (24.6 x 9.2 cm.)
Private Collection, Holland
In the seventeenth century tulips were the most popular flower in Holland due to their striking appearance and the novelty of having been recently discovered. The first mention of a tulip being brought from Turkey to Europe was around 1560. By 1600 about 12 different species of tulips were known in Holland; by 1640 about 700. This amazing rise was due to extensive cross-breeding on the part of the bulb growers spurred on by the general public's ever-growing demand for the flowers or "tulipmania". Because the trade was based on the selling of the bulbs a need arose for illustrations of what the full grown flowering plant would look like. In this way garden catalogues came into existence and was the impetus behind this drawing's creation.