This is a simplified version of a subject and composition treated on several occasions by Jan Brueghel the Younger and is probably the most independent and inventive of the group given that errs from the example set by his teacher and father, Jan Brueghel the Elder. In it a cacophany of colourful blooms explode from an amply sized basket; lily-of-the-valley, yellow ranunculus, cornflowers, an iris, pink roses and pert striated tulips which reach skywards towards both upper corners of the composition. Common to several of the other versions are the large pink rose in the centre, which anchors the arrangement, the group of small flowers emanating from the left edge of the basket, and the lilac that climbs out of the basket before drooping over the frontal stone ledge. Where this painting differs, however, is in the iris and three striated tulips in the upper right which here balance the arrangement on the opposing side. In all other versions these are not required as Brueghel achieves his compositional balance by placing a gilt tazza
filled with smaller blooms slightly behind and to the right of the basket. An example of this latter compositional type is the work of the same dimensions formerly in the Aardenne collection, Dordrecht;1
another version was sold in these Rooms, 14 December 2000, lot 10, for £190,000 (hammer).
1. See K. Ertz, Jan Brueghel the Younger, Freren 1984, pp. 450–51, cat. no. 287, reproduced.