Although more finished, this lot can be compared to a group of drawings once in the possession of Claudine Bouzonnet-Stella depicting figures (usually two or three) in their everyday occupations (see Jacques Stella 1596-1657, exhib. cat., Lyon, Musée des Beaux-Arts and Toulouse, Musée des Augustins, 2006-7, pp. 210-12). These drawings, generally dated around 1650, are all in black chalk, pen and brown ink, grey wash.
The night after Belshazzar's Feast when a hand had written words on the wall, the king was so alarmed that he asked his two doorkeepers to behead everyone who attempted to enter the palace, even if he claimed to be the king himself. Belshazzar, overcome by sickness, left the palace unobserved through a back entrance. On his return the janissaries refused to let him enter the palace and eventually killed him.