Karlsruher Tulpenbuch

The Karlsruher Tulpenbuch (Karlsruhe Book of Tulips) is a collection of 72 plant portraits, all that remain of 6,000 watercolors commissioned by the Margrave Carl Wilhelm of Baden-Durlach (1679-1738). The paintings were intended to become part of a cycle of botanical copperplate engravings which the Margrave wanted to have produced and they depict the fashionable tulips as well as other botanical treasures of the palace garden.

It breaks my heart that only 72 of these watercolors have been preserved. They are so exquisitely painted. Each page is beautifully composed, and the botanical details, while meticulously exact, are thrillingly splendid. I can hardly tear my eyes away.

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