These portraits repeat the compositions of originals by Rubens that entered the collection of the Mauritshuis, The Hague, in 2003. A black chalk study for the male portrait is in the British Museum, London (see P. Sutton and M. Wieseman, op. cit., p. 254, fig. 1). The identification of the sitters as Peter van Hecke the Younger (1591-1645) and Clara Fourment (1593-1643), the older sister of Rubens' second wife, Hélène, dates at least to the late-nineteenth century when Max Rooses first published Rubens's prototypes (M. Rooses, L'oeuvre de P.P. Rubens, Antwerp, IV, 1890, pp. 192-93, no. 966), although it most likely stems from a much older tradition. The couple was part of Rubens's intimate circle: their families were closely linked to the artist through multiple marriages and he was the godfather of one of their children. Peter and Clara were born into two of the wealthiest and most powerful families of silk, tapestry and diamond merchants in Antwerp. Peter would successfully continue his family business and Clara too, would eventually deal in the lace trade.