Friday, 2 March 2012

Fun facts!

Did you know, it is possible to find out all the names, prices and weights of tulips traded in Netherlands during the tulip mania, as it was recorded by Haarlem florist P.Cos in a plant catalogue.

Did you know, heavy bulbs of a popular kind of tulips were sold for 3000 and 4000 guilders (weighting 400, 600 aasen respectively). At a time, a 600 aasen bulb of Viceroy could buy you a silver cup, a small ship, eight pigs or a dozen of sheep.

Did you know, the most expensive and rare tulip, Semper Augustus, in 1620s could be sold for 1000 guilders, while during the tulipmania, just before the crash, the price has increased ten times - to 10,000 guilders. That sum of money was big enough to purchase a luxurious house in Amsterdam or live off a lifetime.

Did you know, that 'the mystery' of  the tulip bulb flowering plain one season, and bright and vivid another season, was actually caused by a virus! Indeed, the Semper Augustus itself, deep-red flares and sparks of it were the result of aphids.

Hans Bollongier (1644) painted an extraordinary Semper Augustus to reveal its beauty and severity displaying drown of other flowers, proving why it was so desired.

Did you know, that tulips were named after their breeders, believing that it will make them more attractive and expensive: The Admirael van Enkhuizen (named after town where it was believed to be bred), Coornhert Tulip (after famous trader Volkert Dircksz Coornhart), etc.

Did you know, the tulip book, The Judith Leyster, was named after the one and only woman artist in Netherlands during the tulipmania. We can now only imagine what level of honour and recognition this meant.

Judith Leyster (1643), painting which was also the cover of the book. 

Did you know, what the word Flora means? Flora was the name of the Roman goddess of flowers meaning springtime, plants and fertility. Historical sources hold she was also a Greek nymph, therefore Christians saw her as a courtesan. The metaphor has been found by the Dutch, as they saw that both, the Roman “whore”and tulip bulbs, were exchanged from hand to hand at increasing prices.

Did you know, that after the craze of tulips eased off, at about the start of the 18th century, wealthy Dutch collectors were obsessed with imports from India – seashells. It did not become as popular as tulips, but still were traded at high prices (50 – 300 guilders).

Did you know, a famous Welsh historian writer, Mike Dash, in 2001 published a book, “Tulipomania: The Story of the World’s Most Coveted Flower & the Extraordinary Passions It Aroused”, which explores the urban phenomenon of Ducth greed in great detail. For those who are enjoying my blog and are genuinely interested in a topic.


1 comment:

  1. Tulips were first brought to the west from Turkey by ambassador Ogier Ghiselain de Busbecq.