Simon Verelst was born in The Hague and came from a family of painters. When he settled in London in 1669 he already had a reputation as a painter of still lifes. This reputation grew while in Britain, where his admirers included the diarist Samuel Pepys. He was encouraged to paint portraits but remained better known for his flower pieces. In later life, Verelst had repeated periods of poor mental health and was reportedly hospitalised several times. His style changed during this time, with depictions of flowers becoming larger.