This type of small half-length composition was a format particularly favoured by Teniers and his contemporaries as a means of capturing human emotions and facial expressions. It was used to great effect by Adriaen Brouwer and Joos van Craesbeeck amongst others, who focused on the more reprehensible aspects of human behaviour and, in dealing with the theme of drinking, on the dangers of overindulgence. Far from commenting reprovingly on the ill-effects of drink, the mood here is decidedly upbeat and celebratory. The jaunty drinker, his laughing face and eyes already small and bright from drinking, raises his glass directly to the viewer, a smoker hunched over his pipe behind. This festive tone is complimented by Teniers's masterly depiction of the tankard and glass and the exuberant portrayal of the sitter, a long feather protruding from his cap. The picture is comparable with a small panel of the same subject, one of a pair datable to 1646, formerly in the collection of the Earl Spencer at Althorp (see M. Klinge, catalogue of the exhibition, David Teniers the Younger, Antwerp, Koninklijk Museum voor Schone Kunsten, 1991, pp. 145-7, no. 46B). The assured handling of the present panel would indicate a slightly later dating.
The picture collection of Joseph, Chevalier Camberlyn d'Amougies (1783-1861), formed for the most part in the early nineteenth century, was housed in the château du Pullenbergh at Pepinghem, near Hal in Belgium.