We are grateful to Fred Meijer of the RKD for confirming the attribution after inspection of the original and for suggesting a date in the second half of the 1640s. At this stage of the artist's career, Heda's still-lifes took on a richer and more elaborate form, revealing to full effect his fascination with shape, texture and spatial harmony. The composition in this example is particularly complex, made up of a series of triangular forms created around the vertical accent of the flute glass and silver decanter and the diagonal axis of the knife and its sheaf. Heda lavishes attention on the subtle differences in the shapes, materials and reflections of the objects, rendering these in a range of silvery grey tones against the more vigorously painted white tablecloth. The red end of the knife-holder that protrudes into the viewers' space in the centre of the composition serves to draw the eye into the heart of the still-life.
Several of the objects must have been at Heda's disposal in his studio during the 1640s since they recur in other pictures. The silver decanter, often placed at exactly the same angle, appears in several works that include the picture dated 1644 sold, Sotheby's, London, 14 December 2000, lot 32 (£480,000), and the upright panel of 1643 in the Musée du Petit Palais, Paris. In the same way, the nautilus cup features regularly in works such as the one dated 1649 in the Staatliches Museum Schwerin, and another of 1640 in the Suermondt Museum, Aachen.