The present compositions are based on Jan van de Velde II's engravings of the four elements which are in turn after designs by Willem Buytewech (see Hollstein, Dutch & Flemish Etchings, Engravings and Woodcuts, XXXIV, pp. 16-7, nos. 18 and 20).
Two other paintings, following Van de Velde's prints of Air and Water, were offered at Christie's, Amsterdam, on 16 November 2006, lot 53. The identical sizes, panels and stylistic resemblance suggest that these paintings formed a set with the present pictures.