By whom (anonymously) sold, London, Sotheby's, 11 December 1996, lot 60, when acquired by the present owner.
This is one of his most beautiful paintings, combining a highly successful modelling of the blooms in depth and bulk, and an engaging softness in palette and brushwork, perhaps under the influence of Jan Fyt. Like some of his contemporaries, he altered the language of his signature, presumably according to the mother-tongue of his patron. Many of his paintings are signed Franchois Ykens, some Francois Ykens, while others, like the present one, are signed with the Spanish form of his first name, probably because they were destined for Spanish collectors. Other such works include a still life in the Haarlem tradition dated 1636 in Ghent, Museum voor Schone Kunsten; a vase of flowers formerly in a Belgian private collection, dated 1644; and a large-scale work incorporating flowers, game, fruit and vegetables dated 1646 in the Prado, Madrid.
A small still life of flowers in a pot is listed as no. 245 in Rubens' posthumous inventory, one of six works by the artist that he owned.
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