This is a version of Crespi's picture, which, with its pendant, Peasants making silk: boiling the silk cocoons, is in a private collection, Rome (Merriman, op. cit., p. 311, nos. 267-8, where they are dated to circa 1710). These in turn are probably versions of a pair of paintings on copper by the artist. Luigi Crespi, in his discussion on Giuseppe Maria Crespi's use of the camera oscura, states that the latter made observations of images projected from the courtyard opposite his studio, and then produced 'a beautiful painting on copper representing the manner of spreading silk cocoons with its companion depicting the manner of boiling the cocoons, both sold at a high price to a milord...' (see Merriman, loc. cit.). The copper panels have never been traced.