The edge of the stone niche seems to project forward, the glass teeters on its edge and Roelant Savery’s signature appears to have been chiselled into the stone, an illusion we call trompe l’oeuil.
The still life has a ominous feeling, because Savery left a big part of the picture in shadow, he let sharp thorns climb up the centre of the bouquet, and he included a few creepy crawlies, such as a rhinocerous beetle. Savery seems to indicate that potential danger might be lurking around the corner, even amongst the most beautiful of flowers.
Probably Captain Thomas Edmund Sotheron Estcourt, Estcourt Park, Tetbury; his sale, London, Christie’s, 9 December 1927, no. 141, to Bellesi; Giuseppe Bellesi Gallery, London, 1927; Freiherr Detlev von Hadeln, Florence and Venice, in or after 1927-1929 (sold to Heinemann, 27 April 1929); Heinemann Gallery, Munich, 1929-1930, inv.no. 18767, together with Hansen Gallery, Luzern (sold to Billand, 2 January 1930); Kommerzienrat Carl Billand, Kaiserslautern, 1930-1936; sale Frankfurt am Main, Auktionshaus Hugo Helbing, 11 May 1936, no. 168; private collection, 1936-2016; Colnaghi Gallery, London; acquired with the support of the VriendenLoterij, the Rembrandt Association (thanks to its Themafonds 17de-eeuwse Schilderkunst) and Mr H.B. van der Ven, 2016