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“Flower still life with crown imperial” is just what the name says: a big bunch of flowers with an orange crown imperial as eye-catcher. This painting was made by Rachel Ruysch in the 1690s in Amsterdam, and is now in the collection of the Tiroler Landesmuseum in Innsbruck [1, 2]. In the RKD database I found a rather bright picture of this painting, while on a privately sent image from the museum it is much darker.


While the RKD database says the snail is a “garden snail” (Cepaea sp.), a closer look at the painting reveals that this snail is similar but still distinct from those seen in other paintings shown so far. The most obvious difference being the lack of a dark brown axial band behind the apertural lip. According to literature [3] this marks the species Cepaea hortensis (Müller, 1774), which occurs “along edges of forest, below shrubs and in high vegetation (…) most often not in the direct vicinity of rural settings, e.g. gardens”. However, the Dutch name is still ‘Witgerande tuinslak’ (White-lipped garden snail)… Nonetheless, this species has also been reported near Amsterdam where Rachel Ruysch made this painting. She may not have been aware of the presence of such two very similar species.

[1] TLI, inv. 645.
[2] http://explore.rkd.nl/explore/images/193146.
[3] Gittenberger, E., Backhuys, W. & Ripken, Th. (1984). Landslakken van Nederland. KNNV, Hoogwoud. See pp. 147-148, 178 (map 98).