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[A Group of Three Watercolours of Hyacinths].

Stock Code 105572

N.d. [but circa 1765-1770].

Original price £18,500.00 - Original price £18,500.00
Original price £0.00
£18,500.00 - £18,500.00
Current price £18,500.00
Pieter Van Loo (or Loon), Haarlem 1731-1784, was a noted flower painter who spent the whole of his life in Haarlem. His paintings are sought after and are found in leading institutions such as the Albertina in Vienna, the Fitzwilliam, Cambridge, and Oak Spring, Virginia.

We are grateful to Polly Nicholson, author of The Tulip Garden, and holder of the national historic tulips collection, for providing more details on these watercolours:
The original species hyacinths are native to the eastern Mediterranean, and, like tulips, were collected in their thousands from the wild and hybridised by successive Ottoman emperors; their elegant sprays are a recurring motif of Iznikware from the 1500s. Reaching Western Europe in the sixteenth-century, they were grown by Carolus Clusius at the Hortus Botanicus in Leiden (c.1593), and were illustrated in Gerard's Herbal of 1597 Crispin de Passe's Hortus Floridus of 1615.

By the end of the eighteenth century the hyacinth had become a popular 'Florists' flower', that was exhibited at flower shows in England, and also beloved of gardeners who grew it in borders or forced it indoors. Today historic hyacinths can still be seen at Hortus Bulborum, a living museum of tulips, narcissus and hyacinths at Limmen, north of Amsterdam; this is where I first chanced upon the old varieties, when on a trip to see tulips.

The hyacinth holds the honour of being the only flower described in the novels of Jane Austen, appearing in Northanger Abbey 'I have just learnt to love a hyacinth… I saw them the other day in Milsom-street' said Catherine Morland to Henry Tilney. Being Bath born and bred (fourth generation of George Bayntun, the antiquarian booksellers) this appeals to me!

These exquisitely observed, fully-double hyacinths painted in watercolour by the botanical painter Pieter Van Loo are larger than life, and it is rare to find a set of three together.

3 bodycolour paintings of double hyacinths, with the names of the varieties lettered at the top, each signed below P: v: Loo (2) P:v:Loo Ad:Viv:Del. (1 & 3). 1. Marachal de France, watermark D & C Blauw. Paper size: 48.8 x 29.6 cm. 2. Sultan Achmet watermark paper size 47.7 x 29.5 cm. 3. Mon Biyoux, watermark Fleur-de-lys; paper size: 47.9 x 30 cm; framed & glazed, overall size: 115.7 x 69 x 3.5 cm.

Cf. Tomasi, An Oak Spring Flora, Oak Spring Garden Founation, 1998 (revised edition), item 77.

Provenance: Sotheby's Monaco 5th March 1984; private collection.


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[A Group of Three Watercolours of Hyacinths].

LOO, Pieter van.

Stock code: 105572



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