Pentimenti in the tree far left and in the kolf players far right testify to the creative effort expended by van der Neer in this fine but little known (it is apparently not recorded in the literature) example of his treatment of the winter landscape theme. Some motifs recur in other renderings of the subject: for instance the dog occurs in the Mauritshuis picture (see F. Bachman, Aert van der Neer, etc., Bremen, 1982, p. 115, fig. 85) while the kolf player about to strike, centre, occurs for instance in that in the Rijksmuseum (see Bachman, op. cit., pp. 117-118 and fig. 89). Unusual among the motifs he used for winter landscapes is the woman being pulled out of the water - C. Hofstede de Groot, (A Catalogue Raisonn etc, London, VII, 1923, Aert van der Neer, no. 547) lists only one ice scene with this motif, which was in a sale in Amsterdam in 1792 - a comparable accident was the subject of a drawing by Hendrick Averkamp in the Royal Collection (see C.J. Welcker, Hendrick Averkamp etc., Doornspijk, 1979, pl. XXXI); his art was probably an influence on Aert van der Neer when he took up the winter landscape theme in the 1640s.
Indeed the tonality and costume suggest that the present lot may be a comparatively early work, comparable to the Ice Scene of 1643 in the collection of the Earl of Crawford (see Bachman, op. cit.,
p. 43 and fig. 25), or The Frozen River near a Village, National Gallery, London, no. 1288 of the 'later 1640s' (see N. MacLaren, National Gallery Catalogues, The Dutch School, etc., revised and expanded by C. Brown, London, 1991, p. 278) which however is more silvery-blue
The 14th Lord Gray, who published the catalogue of his collection on his private press at Kinfauns in 1833, formed a varied collection of pictures, including a number of other Dutch seventeenth-century works.