Jan Mortel was a pupil of Jan Porcellis van Delden, grandson of the marine painter, in Leiden, and became a member of the guild there in 1675. Mortel seems to have spent his entire career in that city and was appointed official draughtsman to the University Botanical Garden in 1690 and painter in 1711. Despite Mortel's close ties to the University Botanical Garden, presumably giving him access to a multitude of different and exotic varieties of fruit and flowers, Mortel characteristically chose only to include familiar varieties in the present picture. His early output was strongly influenced by the work of Jan Davidsz. de Heem and is characterised by strong colours, and dramatic lighting; later in his career, Mortel became influcenced by Abraham Mignon. Indeed Fred Meijer has shown that in circa 1707-8 he actually borrowed elements directly from a picture by Mignon now in the Gemäldegalerie Dresden, for his own pictures (see F. Meijer, The Collection of Dutch and Flemish still life paintings bequeathed by Daisy Linda Ward, Zwolle, 2003, p. 259).