Schelfhout had great success during his lifetime, both in The Netherlands and abroad, excelling in winter landscapes that remain his most sought after subjects. He excelled in exquisitely detailed landscapes of the varied terrain of the Netherlands captured in every effect of light and weather. His particular gift for snow and ice scenes embellished with picturesque skater’s means Andreas Schelfhout's style is characterized by bright naturalistic colours and loose, atmospheric brushwork.
An art-critic praised Schelfhout in 1841 – the same year the present painting was executed - as a result of his entry at the 'Tentoonstelling van Levende Meesters' (Exhibition of Living Artists): 'Alleen zoo als Schelfhout den winter voorstelt in het witte gewaad en met de bonte mengeling van schaatsenrijders, vinden wij er iets aantrekkelijks in. Het zijn de ware voorstellingen van onze wintervreugde.' In the same year,1841, the famous landscapist Barend Cornelis Koekkoek recognised Schelfhout’s unique talent, referring to 'the great Schelfhout' in his book Herinneringen en mededeelingen van eenen landschapschilder (1841). Koekkoek admired the graciousness and truthful depiction of nature in Schelfhout's winter scenes, writing: 'would you like to see how beautiful and charming a flat, simple country scene can be when it bears the stamp of nature, the hallmark of truth? Then behold the works of our great Schelfhout'.
Schelfhout was born in The Hague in 1787 and up until the age of twenty-four he worked for his father, Jean Baptiste Schelfhout, a gilder and framemaker from Ghent. This being the only formal education he received, Schelfhout prided himself in being largely self-taught, 'nature' - as the artist used to say - being his only true teacher. His father recognized his artistic gifts and the young Andreas made his début at the 1811 Living Artists Exhibition in The Hague. For four years he became an apprentice of the stage designer Johannes Breckenheimer (1772-1856), who encouraged him to sketch both from the Old Masters and the picturesque surrounding countryside. In the early 1800's he began to exhibit the winter landscapes that won him the greatest critical acclaim, marking the beginning of a long and successful career. His works were accepted at many of the Living Artists Exhibitions held throughout the Low Countries in Amsterdam, Groningen, Haarlem, The Hague, Leiden, Rotterdam and Utrecht. His work also attracted attention when he exhibited in Belgium at the Antwerp and Brussels Salons.
Schelfhout had an important influence on 19th century art and among his many students were Charles Leickert (1816-1907), Nicholaas Johannes Roosenboom (1805-1880), Willem Troost (1812-1893.), Johan Barthold Jongkind (1819-1891) and Wijnand Nuyen (1813-1839). The extraordinary technical skill, the strong and limitlessly varied compositions, as well as the natural look of his paintings inspired many of Schelfhout's pupils and contemporaries to follow in his footsteps. At the time of his seventieth birthday a group of artists including Bartholomeus Johannes van Hove (1790-1880), Julius Jacobus van de Sande Bakhuyzen (1825-1925) en Johannes Bosboom (1817-1891) praised him in a poem: 'uw winter overtreft uw lent in rijk gebloemt. Heel Nederland heeft u lief, waar heel Euroop u roemt.'