Dr Bernhard Schnackenburg confirmed the attribution of the present drawing on the basis of a transparency in 1995, comparing it to a watercolor of similar size, showing a couple in a garden, in the Morgan Library, New York (inv. I 128) - though the Morgan drawing is less highly finished and has some reworking by Cornelis Dusart - and also to a painting until recently in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. Having previously worked primarily in oil, Ostade began executing smaller scale works in watercolor in around 1670 and many of these, like the present drawing, were signed and dated, indicating that he considered them to be works of art in their own right. About fifty such watercolors survive and the present drawing is one of only three dated 1678. The other two works from that year are in the Rijksprentenkabinet, Amsterdam (inv. A 14) and the Albertina, Vienna (inv. 17564). Although there is nothing on the drawing to confirm its provenance, it has been suggested that it may once have been owned by Cornelis Ploos van Amstel, whose sister-in-law Sara Troost executed a copy after the present drawing, dated 1798 (sold from the Collection of Baron van Leyden, Amsterdam, 13 May 1811, lot Z3).