Henry Temple inherited Broadlands, Hampshire, in 1757, the celebrated seat of the Palmerston dynasty, a Palladian mansion designed in stages by William Kent, Lancelot 'Capability' Brown and Henry Holland. From his coming of age in 1760 until his death in 1802 his house and collection were among his dominant interests. While he inherited a number of portraits, this painting was amongst his first purchases having been acquired in Brussels in 1760, and formed part of what was to become a vast collection of old masters (F. Russell, ‘A connoisseur’s taste. Paintings at Broadlands I’, Country Life, CLXXI, 1983, pp. 224-6). In 1791, the picture was framed in its present, richly carved frame. Unrecorded before its exhibition in 1991, Dr. Margret Klinge dates the picture to the early 1640s, the master’s mature Antwerp Period, about five years before the Temptation of Saint Anthony, now in the Gemäldegalerie, Dresden (inv. no. 1097; see David Teniers, op.cit., p. 134, no. 41). A very similar version of this composition with almost identical dimensions was offered at Bukowski, Stockholm, on 25 September 1929, lot 73 and again on 10 October 1971, lot 243.