One of a group of nine cartoons which appeared at Christie's in 1977 connected with the tapestry designs commemorating the victories of King Louis XIV.
Van der Meulen followed the King in his conquests, and back in his studio at the Gobelins the sketches made on the spot were redrawn on large cartoons from which counterproofs were taken, possibly as records of the composition. The cartoons were then used to transfer the composition, and were frequently destroyed during that process. One further cartoon in the same technique as the present sheet is at Windsor, C. White and C. Crawley, op. cit., no. 397.
The present drawing's composition is close to a group in the Siège de Cambrai of 1677 for the Grand Escalier at Versailles, in which some of the figures are similarly doffing their hats in the presence of the King.