In the second half of the 1830s Johannes Bosboom discovered his favorite theme: the church interior. Bosboom's work was thoroughly rooted in the architectural tradition. As a student of the artist Bartholomeus Johannes van Hove (1790-1880) he had collaborated on decors for plays and had acquired a broad knowledge of architecture and architectural styles. This experience expressed itself in the way the artist prepared his composition. He systematically 'built' his church interiors from fore-, middle to background. The composition was enhanced and the sense of depth in the composition increased by his subtle stafage.
Due to the praise he earned in 1836 with the painting of the interior of the St. Jans Church, 's-Hertogenbosch, he decided that this should become his main subject matter. He started his study of church interiors in the province of Brabant and Belgium. In 1917 Bosbooms biographers G.H. Marius and W. Martin included the following quote from the artist concerning his choice: 'De bijval hiermede behaald-de hernieuwde bekroning bij Felix [Meritus], nu voor eene "Kerk met invallend Zonlicht," gevoegd bij mijn bijzondere neiging om indrukken weer te geven, die kergebouwen op mij maakten, leidden er gaandeweg toe dit genre tot mijn "hoofdbaan" te kiezen, in '37 Belgie te gaan bezoeken en herhaaldelijk daar weer te keeren, aangetrokken door den overvloed van studie welke dat Land mij aanbood als door groote voorkomendheid, die ik daar mogt ondervinden.'(see: G.H. Marius a.o, Johannes Bosboom, The Hague, 1917, p.14). At a later date he also worked in the more northern provinces and depicted the interiors of churches such as the St. Bavo in Haarlem, the Noorder Church in Hoorn and the village church of Purmerend. In the 1840's Bosboom was awarded a number of prizes. It is very likely that William, the Prince of Orange, acquired the present painting directly at the exhibition of 'Levende Meesters' for his important paintings collection. In 1845 Bosboom received a Gold Medal in Brussels for two works titled "St. Bavo te Haarlem" and "Nieuwe Kerk te Amsterdam".
St. Catherine's church of Hoogstraten in Belgium, of which its interior is depicted here, was built as a final resting place and thus sepulchre for the first Count of Hoogstraten and Culemborg, Antoon I de Lalaing (1480-1540) and his wife, Countess Elisabeth van Culemborg (1475-1555), from whom he inherited these titles. He was a counselor par excellence of the archduchess Margaret of Austria. The grave depicted in the present lot is the single most important grave in the church. The alabaster mausoleum was built by Jan Mone between 1527 and 1529.