Flower Still life with a watch

Flower still life with a watch is a 1663 floral painting by Willem van Aelst. It is in the collection of the Mauritshuis and exhibited at the Gallery Prince Willem V.[1]

Flower still life with a watch
Willem van Aelst - Flower Still Life with a Timepiece - 2 - Mauritshuis.jpg
ArtistWillem van Aelst Edit this on Wikidata
Mediumoil paint, canvas
Dimensions62.5 cm (24.6 in) × 49 cm (19 in)
LocationMauritshuis, Het Loo Palace
Accession No.Edit this on Wikidata
IdentifiersRKDimages ID: 7326

Early history and creationEdit

This work was painted in Amsterdam where it was signed and dated Guill.mo van Aelst. 1663. Van Aelst had recently returned from Italy and thus signed as "Guillelmo" rather than Willem. He remained in Amsterdam until his death and was a strong influence on other Amsterdam flower painters, including Rachel Ruysch.

Description and interpretationEdit

The work shows a watch with a blue ribbon attached. It is not clear which watchmaker designed it. The bouquet shows Rosa gallica, poppy, Pieris, Myosotis, Gentiana, Viburnum opulus, Tagetes lucida, Tagetes patula, butterfly, Southern Hawker, and Calliphoridae.[1] The vase itself is an object created by Johannes Lutma in the auricular style.[1]

The painting follows in a tradition of Dutch and Flemish flower still life paintings showing a pocket watch attached to a blue ribbon with a wind-up key. This is one of many recurring symbols of the Vanitas genre that Van Aelst and others used:

Later history and influenceEdit

The painting is one of many from the Dutch Royal collection at Het Loo Palace, Apeldoorn. It is registered there as early as 1757. William V, Prince of Orange took it to The Hague for his new 1774 gallery. It was in the gallery when its contents were taken to Paris as war booty during the French occupation. It was on show in the Louvre from 1795 until 1815, whereupon it was returned.


  1. ^ a b c "Flower still life with a watch, 1663 gedateerd". RKD. Retrieved 30 August 2017.