Snyders’s still lives of kitchen tables groaning with fruit, vegetables and game are one of the most enduringly popular aspects of his art, and this large drawing with its fluid use of wash and confident penmanship is a striking example of the artist’s preparatory studies. It is related to a painting in the Westfälisches Landesmuseum für Kunst und Kulturgeschichte in Münster (Fig. 1), and seems to have been developed from a very similar composition in an earlier painting formerly in the Huldchinsky Collection (Robels, op. cit., 48 I). There are a few minor differences between the drawing and the painting in Münster, most notably in the figure of the boy at the right, who holds up a leg bone to keep it away from an eager dog. In the drawing the boy wears a broad collar and a hat, both of which are absent in the painting. Robels points out that the differences are most likely explained by the fact that the figure in the painting appears to be from the hand of Erasmus Quellinus II (1607-1678), a pupil and collaborator of Snyders.
The drawing has a particularly distinguished provenance. It is first documented in the great collection formed by Gerard Paignon Dijonval (1708-1792), which was sold en bloc by his nephew, Charles-Gilbert Morel de Vindé (1759-1852), to the English dealer Samuel Woodburn (1786-1853). It then passed into the collection of Thomas Dimsdale (1758-1823) and later that of Sir Thomas Lawrence (1769-1830), with Woodburn acting as the agent for the transaction in each case. It returned to Woodburn for the final time after Lawrence's death, along with the rest of the painter's superlative collection, as settlement for Lawrence's outstanding debts to Woodburn.