A pupil of Watteau for a brief but formative period of his early career, Pater was received into the French Académie in 1728 as a 'painter of modern subjects', and the artist best able to continue the tradition of fêtes galantes that his celebrated master had invented.
The provenance of this charming pair of pictures can be traced to Martin Colnaghi, grandson of the celebrated dealer and art advisor Paul Colnaghi (1751-1833), founder of Colnaghi's, one of the oldest surviving and most celebrated art dealerships in London. Although Martin Colnaghi continued the dealing activities of his father and grandfather, it seems that the present works formed part of his private collection. As a picture dealer and collector, Martin Colnaghi's primary interest was in Dutch and Flemish Old Masters, precisely of the taste which inspired Pater and his eighteenth-century patrons. A key early benefactor of the National Gallery, London, Colnaghi lent five pictures to that institution, and bequeathed it £75,000 in his will, funds which were used to buy 13 paintings, including works by Cézanne and Delacroix.
The pictures subsequently belonged to the American banker John Pierpont Morgan, one of the outstanding American collectors of the Gilded Age. Morgan began collecting in 1900, and by the time of his death in 1913 had amassed a collection valued at an estimated $160,000,000, considered by some contemporaries to be the best in the world. His motivation was always to acquire 'only the most highly prized works of all types, rather than a comprehensive selection of any one area' (A. Deirdre Robson, 'Morgan, J(ohn) Pierpont', in The Grove Dictionary of Art); to this end he would sometimes buy entire collections en bloc; many of the paintings are now in the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Pierpont Morgan Library, New York.