Born in either Leiden or possibly Ypres, the home town of his parents, Pieter de Ring may have initially trained as a mason. He appears to have moved to Antwerp by the 1630s, possibly to study with the famous still life painter, Jan Davidz. de Heem, as his eighteenth-century biographer Arnold Houbraken reports (see A. van der Willigen and F. Meijer, A Dictionary of Dutch and Flemish Still-life Painters Working in Oils, 1525-1725, Leiden, 2003, pp. 168-169), although he is not documented in the master's workshop. In any event, a palpable influence of this Dutch master is apparent in Pieter's still lifes of the late 1640's and early 1650's. Pieter de Ring cofounded the Leiden guild in 1648, and was a powerful influence on the artistic climate in that city. In a delightful play on words, Pieter often signed his paintings with a simple ring with a stone, as in the present composition.
We are grateful to Fred Meijer, of the RKD in The Hague, for confirming the attribution on the basis of photographs (private communication, 13 April 2012).