Great Tulip Book: Semper Augustus

Dutch, 17th century (Dutch, 1600-1699)
17th century
Gouache on paper 
12-1/8 x 7-7/8 in. (30.8 x 20.0 cm) 
Credit Line:
Norton Simon Art Foundation 
Accession Number:
© Norton Simon Art Foundation 
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.

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