Four hundred years ago the Dutch went crazy for tulips. Plant people know all about this craze but for everyone else it was a lot like the dot-com stock market crash a few years back. Prices spiraled so out of control that whole fortunes were won and lost overnight.
In 1637 Dutch nurseryman P. Cos set to defining the tulip market with his book of beautifully rendered varieties. At the time viruses were causing known tulips to break their color into exotic flaming patterns. So literally the number of cultivars was increasing exponentially.
This book is digitized on the Wageningen Library web site in the Netherlands. These beautifully scanned original botanical paintings show you exactly what made the Dutch go crazy for the flowers. In fact, this is considered the most rare of all tulip books, formerly known to just a few. But with this scanned archive P. Cos’ work is now visible to everyone free of charge.
These images is part of the original P. Cos book which illustrated the most coveted “flaming” tulips of the day that drove such a craze for collecting it was called tulipmania.
To get to the tulip images in a convenient grid presentation, click here http://library.wur.nl/desktop/tulp/cos/origineel/images/index.html
For the list from the original work that indicates how each was named, its selling price and those by other illustrators: http://library.wur.nl/speccol/catalog/
Later on an addendum was included in the book with still more tulips rendered by other 17th century artists.
This archive is a great source of free tulip botanical images for creating cards and other digital crafts. They are particularly beautiful for Valentines day and Easter.
To learn more and link to other fabulous online archives of antique botanical illustrations for arts and crafts using digital images, check out our FREE eBook
Online Botanical Illustrations: A Treasure Trove of Free Images for Digital Crafts