In the present, highly-refined composition, Bosschaert presents a table strewn with objects whose varying textures and surfaces showcase his skill as a still-life painter. He is particularly interested in the play of light across the surface of his arrangement, taking obvious delight in the reflections in the highly-polished pewter plate and wine glass, so clear that we are able to discern the shape of the windows in the artist's studio. Details such as the flies settled on the cut apples and the spots of decay on the fruit in the dish serve as a subtle reminder of mortality, and the grasshopper on the edge of the table symbolizes the passage of time.
Ambrosius the Younger was the son of Ambrosius Bosschaert the Elder, founder of the 'Bosschaert dynasty' of painters and one of the first and most important flower painters in the Netherlands, along with Roelandt Savery, Jacques de Gheyn and Jan Breughel the Elder. Ambrosius the Elder's style was perpetuated by his three sons, Ambrosius the Younger, Johannes and Abraham, as well as his son-in-law, Balthasar van der Ast. Their work shows that they inherited working drawings from Ambrosius the Elder, none of which survive.
Ambrosius the Younger lived in Utrecht, where he married in 1634. His work has been recognized only since 1935 when Piet de Boer succeeded in differentiating it from pictures by his father and his brother Abraham. Ambrosius the Younger's early pictures are signed 'AB' in Gothic lettering, but after 1633 he used a more calligraphic, rounded abbreviation, almost Baroque in effect, or even his name in full, as in the present painting, which is likely datable to circa 1633-40. The first period of his creative output falls between 1626 and 1635. His still lifes from that time are viewed from above and have a low vanishing point, whereas in later works the high viewpoint and stiff composition of the pictures, especially of the still lifes combining fruit and flowers, often become noticeably less symmetrical and more spacious. These works also reveal the strong influence of his brother Abraham, evident both in their sense of plasticity and coloration, as well as that of van der Ast, who enlarged the Bosschaert compositional repertory to include more table-top still lifes with architectural backgrounds that inspired the next generation of still life painters in this genre such as Bartholomeus Abrahamsz. Assteyn (1607-c. 1667).
Horizontal fruit still lifes by Ambrosius the Younger (as opposed to upright flower paintings) are relatively rare. A panel of almost the same size as the present work, signed and dated 1631, representing Fruit in a wicker basket on a ledge was sold at Christie's London, 11 December 1992, as lot 67 for £300,000=$500,000.