Maes was one of Rembrandt's most talented pupils and, while little is known about his earliest work, by the early 1650s he was painting biblical subjects and genre scenes in a style influenced by his master, among them the famous series of eavesdroppers. His genre scenes are more celebrated today than his portraits even though he worked as a portraitist almost exclusively from around 1660. Maes's popularity increased dramatically after his move to Amsterdam in 1674 and, according to Houbraken, 'so much work came his way that it was deemed a favour if one person was granted the opportunity to sit for his portrait before another, and so it remained for the rest of his life.'
William Berry (1879-1954), created 1st Viscount Camrose in 1941, controlled the largest media empire of his day, owning the Sunday Times, Financial Times and Daily Telegraph, as well as other newspapers and magazines. In 1935 he bought Hackwood Park, built for the 1st Duke of Bolton at the end of the 17th century and altered by Samuel and Lewis Wyatt in the early 19th century. The heirs of the Duke of Bolton had let Hackwood between 1850 and 1935, so Camrose also acquired much of the original furniture and contents. This he complemented, continued by his son, John Berry, 2nd Viscount Camrose (1909-1995), with a fine collection of Old Master and later paintings, including most notably Van Dyck's Portrait of the Abbé Scaglia (London, National Gallery, inv. no. 6575).