Great Tulip Book: Semper Augustus
17th century
Dutch, 17th century (Dutch, 1600-1699)
Not on View

A mercantile craze for tulips, known as "Tulipomania," arose in Holland in the early seventeenth century. Native to Turkey, the tulip was introduced into Europe in 1554 and quickly became popular in Holland. The insatiable demand for the beautiful, rare bulbs reached its height in 1636, when prices soared and flower merchants enjoyed great wealth. This album of watercolors was used by a wealthy Dutch merchant and grower to show his clients the different varieties of tulip bulbs available for purchase. Inscriptions on the watercolors record the name of each variety, often the grower himself or an influential and wealthy client, as well as the weight and price of each bulb.


  • Artist Name: Dutch, 17th century (Dutch, 1600-1699)
  • Title: Great Tulip Book: Semper Augustus
  • Date: 17th century
  • Medium: Gouache on paper
  • Dimensions: 12-1/8 x 7-7/8 in. (30.8 x 20.0 cm)
  • Credit Line: Norton Simon Art Foundation
  • Accession Number: M.1974.08.030.D
  • Copyright: © Norton Simon Art Foundation

Object Information

Dutch Estates During the 17th and 18th century

  • Het Prinsenhof Museum, 1972-07 to 1972-09

Tulip Mania: Flower Fever in Seventeenth-Century Holland

  • Norton Simon Museum, 2001-03-01 to 2001-07-23

The Great Tulip Book

  • Norton Simon Museum, 1987-04-30 to 1987-08-02

Tulips are in Bloom

  • Norton Simon Museum, 1993-04-29 to 1993-08

Significant Objects: The Spell of Still Life

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


  • Norton Simon Museum, 1978-08 to

[on loan]

  • Henry Art Gallery, 1974 to


  • Haarlem, Frans Hals Museum, 1974-04-05 to 1974-06-08
  • Campbell, Sara, Collector Without Walls: Norton Simon and His Hunt for the Best, 2010, cat. 1060 p. 367
  • Rebekka Reinhard, Hohe Luft Magazine and Das Handelsblatt, 2015, pp. 6-11
  • Francis, Jill, Gardens and Gardening in Early Modern England, 2018, 163 pp. 297-299
  • Spalding, Jill, Luxury: A History, 2020, None p. 91

Additional Artwork by Artist

Great Tulip Book: Admirael Der Admiraels de Gouda Dutch, 17th century 17th century
Great Tulip Book: Admirael Vander Eyck Dutch, 17th century 17th century
Great Tulip Book: Boterman Dutch, 17th century 17th century

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