The beginning of Verboeckhoven's artistic career is characterized by the influence of his father, the sculptor Barthèlemy Verboeckhoven (1759-1840), from whom he received his initial training. He subsequently attended the Academy in Ghent and later became an apprentice in the studio of the livestock-painter Balthasar Paul Ommeganck (1755-1826). Verboekhoven participated in a great number of exhibitions from 1820 onwards, making a name for himself as an acutely competent artist. In 1824 Verboeckhoven won his first gold medal at the Paris Salon, and in that same year a picture depicting cattle was bought by the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam (inv.no. A1150). After being appointed the Chevalier de l'Ordre de Leopold in 1833, the artist soon became one of the most important art tutors of the 19th Century and was frequently requested to add staffage to the paintings of other great artist's such as Barend Cornelis Koekkoek (1803-1862) and Johann Bernard Klombeck (1815-1893).
The present lot is a wonderful example of Verboeckhoven's talent in arranging the animals in such manner that they compliment and enhance the perspective within the entire composition. The trail of sheep seamlessly progresses from the fore- to the background leading the viewer eye to the foliage through which sunlight fills the picture plane. This, in combination with the various atmospheric effects and its magnificent size make it possible for this remarkable painting to be both intriguing and enchanting every time it is viewed.