The artist was a pupil of his father, Leon van Heil, before becoming a member of the Brussels guild in 1627. He painted winter scenes and landscapes with ruins but it is for his depiction of fires that he is best known. The present picture is comparable with The burning of Antwerp City Hall, 4 November 1576, sold in these Rooms, 8 July 1994, lot 171 (£28,000), as well as with his view of A fire in Brussels in the Musées Royeaux des Beaux-Arts, Brussels, inv. no. 1729.