The drawing was part of a group of about eighty sheets of animal or nature studies, all small in size, most of which were part of the 'Animal Album' sold by the Odescalchi family in 1957, Roethlisberger, op. cit., pp. 57-9. These drawings were executed, according to Roethlisberger, over the years 1635 to 1645.
The album was mentioned in the 1713 Odescalchi inventory as 'sessanta due disegni rappresentati Animali, e Piante di Claudi Gelle Lorenese'. It was probably compiled by Claude as a stock of models to be used in his paintings: as pointed out by Roethlisberger, from this period onwards animals appear in every one of his landscapes. Baldinucci wrote of Claude's depiction of animals 'the four-footed animals, particularly cattle, goats and such, are well imitated with great affection'.
Other sheets from this album were sold at Christie, 2 July 1991, lot 311 and at Christie's, New York, 31 May 1990, lot 35, illustrated.