According to J. van Gool, De Nieuwe Schouburg der Nederlandsche Kunstschilders en Schilderessen, 1742, II, p.477-87, the Amsterdam painter Dirk Valkenburg was the pupil of the celebrated game-piece painter Jan Weenix. After his apprenticeship Valkenburg never reached his intended destination of Italy because of so many commissions in Germany. Back in Holland around 1700 his popularity continued; William III of Orange commissioned works to decorate the palace Het Loo. Because of his skillfull rendering of plants and animals, he was contracted by Jonas Witsen to work in Surinam, to record the tropical flora and fauna of the Dutch colony. The present lot is one in the small group of signed works of Valkenburg. Most closely analogous is 'Birds by a vase in a landscape' in the National Gallery of Dublin, where a similar vase with playing putti in feigned relief is depicted, as is the motif of the two blue convolvulus flowers.
See colour illustration