As pointed out by S. Slive, op. cit., I, p. 34, the present lot derives from a lost original dating from 1618/22 of which numerous contemporary and later copies exist. Slive has suggested that the original probably existed in two variants of which one type is recorded in the copy now in the Kimbell Art Foundation, Fort Worth (Slive, op. cit., II, p. 116, no. L3, fig. 69), the other in the picture in the collection of the Earl of Pembroke, Wilton House (Slive, op. cit., II, p. 116, no. L3-2, fig. 70). This has six instead of five children around the rommelpot player in slightly different poses. Although now lost, the popularity and impact of the original must have been great. The subject was new at the time, the most prominent role is given to the children.
See colour illustration