Dutch painter look flower arrangements

Perhaps most striking of all period styles was the late 17th century Dutch style. There was then a fashion amongst Dutch painters like Van Huysum for huge pictures of mixed flowers, in a free and spontaneous conglomeration which has a very exuberant look. The whole effect is of a great mass, rich in colour and variety – a deep and rather open arrangement always slightly disarranged. Outsize Roses, Peonies and Tulips feature prominently. Strangely, the Dutch who liked these flower arrangement pictures did not then go in for real flower arrangements in their homes.

Achieving this look of abundance depends upon several necessities: plenty of space for its display, a big container, and huge quantities of flowers. If you do not have a bottomless pocket, a brimming garden (supplemented by hedgerow flowers and plants) is essential.

Easier (and cheaper) to copy is the Tudor custom of a small nosegay of herbs and scented flowers in every bedroom. This was believed to be healthy and is certainly a pleasure at bedtime – especially in a guest’s room.

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