Raised in Antwerp, David de Coninck was apprenticed in 1659 to Pieter Boel, a student of Jan Fyt, and in 1663 became a master in the Antwerp Guild of Saint Luke. From 1671 to 1694 he was living in Rome, where he was a member of the circle of Dutch and Flemish painters living there who called themselves the Bentvueghels, or 'Birds of a Feather', known for their rowdy behavior and the witty nicknames they invented for each other. There, De Coninck became known as “Rammelaer”, which means “rattle”, and secured his reputation as a highly respected painter of live animals and game in landscape settings, attracting such notable patrons as the Earl of Exeter (1648-1700), who acquired no fewer than seven pictures from the artist in 1684 for Burghley House.
The present canvases were recognized as autograph works by David de Coninck in 2001 by Fred G. Meijer of the RKD in The Hague, who also pointed out that De Coninck repeated the compositions on more than one occasion (private communication). Their bold, complementary compositions juxtapose to brilliant effect the diagonals formed by the peacock in the first picture and the hare in the second, and evince both De Coninck’s remarkable ability to depict wildlife and his keen sense for the drama of Baroque compositional effects.