Tulips one of my favourite motifs Steffen Diemer

Tulips one of my favourite motifs. Tulips have fascinated me since my childhood. I have always found it particularly attractive that the head is so oriented towards the light and that the tulip continues to grow even in the vase. I often watch the plant for days until I think it has reached a stage that pleases me and expresses what I would like to capture on my glass plate for eternity.

The biblical "Rose of Sharon" could be a tulip (Tulipa montana or Tulipa agenensis). Ancient writers of Greece and Rome did not mention tulips, although some species are found in the Mediterranean region. They are also absent from Byzantine sources, as overall there seems to be little relationship between Byzantine and Ottoman gardens. In the Middle East, tulips were cultivated for centuries, with the garden tulip (Tulipa gesneriana) probably evolving from several wild species. Possible parent species are Tulipa lanata, Tulipa clusiana, Tulipa aitchisonii, Tulipa stellata and Tulipa armena. Written evidence has existed since the 9th century in ancient Persian literature. The Turks took over the cultivation of tulips from the Persians. The plant has been mentioned by poets since the 13th century. Tulips were also depicted in miniatures, on ceramics and as dress patterns. From the 16th century at the latest, they served as a garden plant. The preferred form was lily-shaped with pointed petals. However, during the "tulip era" (Lale devrı), Sultan Ahmed III also imported rounded garden tulips from Holland. An illustrated catalogue of tulips was published in 1725. Ahmed III owned famous tulip meadows in the summer pastures (yayla) in Spil Dağı above Manisa. It is unclear whether these were wild tulips or cultivars.

From Turkey, the garden tulip came to Central and Western Europe around the middle of the 16th century. In Italy, tulipa is documented for 1549. The first description comes from the imperial ambassador to the court of Suleyman I, Ghislain de Busbecq, who described tulips in his "Turkish Letters" in 1554. The name he gave, tulipan (Turkish tülband = turban band), is probably based on a linguistic misunderstanding (naming the form, not the plant) or on a Turkish folk name for the plants. In written language, the tulips were called lalé in Turkish as in Persian. It is probable that Busbecq also sent tulips to Vienna among the documented seeds and bulbs; there is evidence of an illustration of the tulip under the name Narcissus by Pietro Andrea Mattioli in 1565. Conrad Gessner illustrated a tulip in 1561 that he had seen in the garden of the councillor Heinrich Herwart in Augsburg in 1559. It was probably Tulipa armena or a cultivated form of this species. Gessner's description served as the basis for the description of Tulipa gesneriana by Carl von Linné in 1753. The first more detailed works on the tulips were written by Carolus Clusius, through whose lively exchange activities the tulips reached large parts of Europe. Towards the end of the 16th century, Holland became a centre for bulbous plant breeding, especially tulips. A large number of varieties emerged, including those with double flowers or with colourful flamed flowers, which was caused by a viral disease. Tulips became an object of speculation in upmarket circles in Western Europe, the so-called tulip mania developed, until the trading value of tulips returned to normal after a stock market crash in 1637. In the decades following the tulip mania, the tulip developed from a flower of the aristocracy and the moneyed bourgeoisie into a widespread ornamental plant, which it has remained to this day.

The tulip shown here measures 28x35cm