Nosegay on a Marble Plinth
c. 1695
Rachel Ruysch (Dutch, 1664/5-1750)
On View

This small yet voluptuous bouquet of cultivated and wild flowers sits, artfully poised, atop a stone ledge. Several delicately painted insects are drawn to the rich cluster of petals. Ruysch has oriented her floral composition along a strong diagonal: rough, thorny stems on the lower left lead to abundant, full-flowering blooms on the right. This sort of depiction of opulence and plenty became the very point of flower painting in the eighteenth century. Ruysch’s close study of the light, and her arrangement of large, open flowers at the center, surrounded by smaller ones in varying degrees of shadow, impart the full spatial presence of the nosegay.

Ruysch was one of Holland’s outstanding flower painters and the first female Dutch artist to achieve international recognition. From youth, she participated in a rich social and cultural network, thanks to the achievements and professional standing of her family. Frederik Ruysch, her father, was a distinguished professor of anatomy and botany whose wunderkammer (room of wonders) was an attraction for dignitaries visiting Amsterdam. These scientific and botanical resources undoubtedly played a role in her exemplary accomplishments as a professional artist, crowned by her appointment as court painter to Johann Wilhelm, the Elector Palatine of Bavaria, in Düsseldorf in 1708.


  • Artist Name: Rachel Ruysch (Dutch, 1664/5-1750)
  • Title: Nosegay on a Marble Plinth
  • Date: c. 1695
  • Medium: Oil on canvas
  • Dimensions: 14-3/4 x 11-1/2 in. (37.5 x 29.2 cm)
  • Credit Line: The Norton Simon Foundation
  • Accession Number: F.1972.43.1.P
  • Copyright: © The Norton Simon Foundation

Object Information

[Jean-Baptiste Pierre Lebrun, Paris, 1792, to];
Baron Hendrik Fagel III, The Hague and London (sale, Paris, Drouot, 4 May 1870, no. 17, bought in).
J. C. Bysterbos, Zwolle, or Mlle. G. W. Dijk, Amsterdam (sale, Amsterdam, Frederik Muller, 7-8 March 1899, no. 40).
[?]Collection Van Regteren Altena, Amsterdam, 1928.
Cornelis Johannes Karel van Aalst, Hoevelaken (1866-1939), by descent 1939 to his son;
Dr. N. J. van Aalst, sold 1972 through;
[H.M. Cramer, The Hague, Holland, to];
The Norton Simon Foundation.

Boeket in Willet

  • Museum Willet Hothuysen, 1970-05-29 to 1970-08-09

Oudekunst- en antiekbeurs der Vereeniging van Handelaaren in Oude Kunst in Nederland

  • Het Prinsenhof Museum, 1972 to

[on loan]

  • Richmond, Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, 1972-09-27 to 1974-12-16

Significant Objects: The Spell of Still Life

  • Norton Simon Museum, 2012-07-20 to 2013-01-21

Tulips are in Bloom

  • Norton Simon Museum, 1993-04-29 to 1993-08
  • Lebrun, Jean-Baptiste Pierre, Galerie des Peintres Flamandes, Hollandais et Allemands, 1792,
  • Smith, John, A Catalogue Raisonné of the Works of the Most Eminent Dutch, Flemish & French Painters, 1829, vol. 6, no. 25 p. 502
  • Hofstede de Groot, Cornelis, A Catalogue Raisonné of the Works of the most Eminent Dutch Painters of the Seventeenth Century., 1928, no. 4 p. 309
  • Boeket in Willet, 1970, no. 29
  • Sutton, Peter C., A Guide to Dutch Art in America, 1986, p. 215
  • Campbell, Sara, Collector Without Walls: Norton Simon and His Hunt for the Best, 2010, cat. 861 p. 346

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