Pieter van de Venne was born in Middleburg and is believed to have been apprenticed to Evert van der Maes in The Hague in 1618. He may have been the son-in-law of the more widely known Adriaen van de Venne, or, more likely, his brother-in-law. Pieter was primarily a painter of floral still lifes such as the present work, and joined the guild in the Hague in 1639. A similar painting by van de Venne, without the shells, was sold at Christie's Amsterdam, 11 May 1994, lot 161.
We are grateful to Mr Fred Meijer of the RKD, The Hague, for suggesting the attribution to Pieter van de Venne, on the basis of a photograph (private communication, 8 August 2007).