The central part of the present picture recurs in Sassoferrato's Angel of the Annunciation, in the Pinacoteca Comunale, Cesena, for which there is a preliminary drawing in the Royal Library, Windsor Castle (inv. 6048). Whether or not Sassoferrato collaborated with a flower painter for the present canvas is uncertain. Only one other such painting seems to be known, the Virgin surrounded by a garland of flowers of the same size at Wilton House (see Earl of Pembroke, A catalogue of the paintings & drawings in the collection at Wilton House, Aylesbury, 1968, p. 82, no. 220A, pl. 102). While the two pictures cannot have been conceived as pendants, the stylistic affinities and the matching dimensions (interestingly, none of the artist's other canvases are of the same size), suggest that they were worked up at at the same moment.
The floral part of the Wilton canvas has traditionally been ascribed to Mario Nuzzi (1603-1673), a notion that has also been proposed for the present work. It is known that Nuzzi did frequently collaborate with figure painters in his more ambitious work. For Cardinal Flavio Chigi, he painted a series of the Four Seasons, in which Spring has figures by Filippo Lauri, Summer by Carlo Maratta, Autumn by Giacinto Brandi and Winter by Bernardino Mei. Better known perhaps are the magnificent pair of mirrors painted in collaboration with Carlo Maratta for the gallery of the Palazzo Colonna, Rome. However, nothing is documented to suggest that he had any association with Sassoferrato and while the handling of the flowers in the present canvas is close stylistically to Nuzzi an attribution to him is not necessarily convincing. Neither for that matter is an attribution to Nuzzi's contemporary Giovanni Stanchi (active 1654-1672), which has also been voiced in connection with the present work.
It seems much more likely that Sassoferrato was responsible for the flowers himself. A clue is given by the lily held by the Virgin in the Cesena canvas, clearly by Sassoferrato's own hand, which is consistent with those directly adjacent to her in this picture. The treatment of these lilies is entirely consonant with the other flowers in the garland suggesting that Sassoferrato was indeed responsible for the whole.