Herman Saftleven

Although she received no formal scientific education, Agnes Block (1629–1704) was a passionate horticulturalist and collector of plants and flowers. She cultivated them, mostly from seed, in her garden at Vijverhof—a country house on the River Vecht, southeast of Amsterdam, that Block bought after the death of her first husband, in 1670. It was her practice to document her collection by commissioning watercolors from artists. Between 1680 and 1684, at the tail end of a career spent producing Italian and Dutch landscapes and genre scenes, Herman Saftleven made a number of such studies at Block’s request. The verso of this sheet is inscribed, in Block’s hand, with the correct Latin names of the individual plants and the months when they flowered.

Herman Saftleven
Dutch, 1609–1685
Studies of Five Flowers and Plants, 1682
Watercolor, opaque watercolor, and gum arabic
The Morgan Library & Museum, Purchased on the Fellows Fund; 1984.10