Ambrosius Bosschaert the Elder was born in Antwerp but lived in the Northern Netherlands since 1587. He began his training in Antwerp and joined the Middelburg guild as a master in 1593. He specialised in painting precise flower and fruit still lifes, in the manner of botanical illustrations but grouped in compositions, which carefully balance form and colour. Ambrosius Bosschaert would have made drawings and preliminary sketches of each flower and placed them into the picture as he worked.
These specimens would not have been cut and shown in a vase; they would have remained in the ground for breeding or for an elegant garden display. This painting was meant to last, for a wealthy collector and connoisseur to admire long after the flowers had gone. The petals have a brilliant sheen, their jewel-like colours against the dark wall almost too bright to be taken as real. Bosschaert worked on a copper support to allow the smoother application of paint than on canvas, enabling him to show intricate detail. He used layers of glazes to produce a brilliance that has remained virtually without fading for over 400 years.