The popular composition may derive from a lost original by Jan van Eyck, which was recorded by Marcantonio Michiel in Milan around 1530 as ‘El quadretto a meze figure, del patron che fa conto cun el fattor fo de man de Zuan Heic, credo Memelino, Ponetino, fatto nel 1440’, when he encountered it in the collection of Camillo and Niccolò Lampognano in Milan in circa 1520. Van Eyck may have been commissioned by Italian financiers working in Bruges, such as the Arnolfini family. It seems that Van Eyck's composition was adapted by Quinten Massijs (Leuven 1456/66-1530 Antwerp) in two works, including the Banker and his Wife of 1514 in the Louvre, Paris. It has been hypothesized that the present work - and the many other known examples of its compositional type - were in turn based upon a second, lost, derivation of Massijs' painting that was itself adapted by Marinus van Reymerswaele (Reimerswaal 1490/95-1546/56 Goes), for works such as in the National Gallery, London. Lorne Campbell has convincingly argued that these all derive from adaptations by Reymerswaele of Massijs' work (see: The Pictures in the Collection of Her Majesty The Queen. The Early Flemish Pictures, Cambridge, 1985, pp. 114-8). The motive of the parrot is featuring in versions in the Royal Collection and Windsor Castle.