Cornelis de Heem painted this exceptional still life of flowers and fruit in the mid-1680s when he was living in The Hague.

It is a handsome example of the Dutch vanitas genre in which the wilting plants and decaying fruit symbolise the transitory nature of life. De Heem trained under his father, the renowned painter Jan Davidszoon de Heem and was noted for his small indoor still-life pictures. This work is unusual in its large scale and outdoor setting. Among the flowers and fruit depicted in the composition are roses, lilies, peonies, peaches and a melon. William Blathwayt, the connoisseur and builder of Dyrham Park, probably acquired the painting in the 1690s, and it hung on the walls of the house until 1956, when the picture was sold by his descendants. The estate is now run by the National Trust, and the painting returns there to be reunited with other works from Blathwayt’s remarkable collection.


Probably William Blathwayt (1649-1717); Dyrham Park by 1839; sold Sotheby's, London,1956; with Leonard Koester; private owner; with Johnny Van Haeften.

Back to top