The present lot probably derives from a set of wall decorations for an Amsterdam merchant house, whereby the grisailles ("grauwtjes" in Dutch) were meant as dessus-de-portes, suggesting stucco reliefs. In contrast to Italy and France, where there was a large craftmanship in stucco, this tradition was lacking in the Netherlands. Most of the stucco work was therefore produced by Italian masters, mostly members of larger families such as the Castoldi and the Luraghi families. See W.V.J. Freling, Stucwerk in het Nederlandse woonhuis uit de 17e en 18e eeuw, 1993, pp.170/3.
The invention to replace stucco work with the cheaper painted grisailles dates back to circa 1720. It was Jacob the Wit who made this invention into his speciality. After his surname, they were called "witjes". De Wit's reputation was formed especially through these "witjes", for which he was praised by Jan van Gool in his Groote Schouburgh of 1730, as the "natuurlyksten Kunstschilder in 't graeu" (the most realistic painter in grisaille). The subject of these grisailles were mostly putti, influenced by the great French decoration painter Franois Boucher.