The apparently spontaneous arrangement of figures in these two sets of studies suggests that they were drawn by Brueghel from life, laid out quickly in black chalk and carefully articulated in pen and brown ink and wash. The drawings would have formed part of the artist's 'library' of figures, and used to populate his paintings. The group of women to the left of the second sheet, joined by the gentleman seen from behind, now wearing a sword, on the verso of the same sheet, appear in the left foreground of Brueghel's Village Scene, of 1612, in the Alte Pinakothek, Munich (K. Ertz, Jan Brueghel der Dltere (1568-1635), Die Gemdlde mit kritischem Oeuvrekatalog, Cologne, 1979, no. 255, fig. 262). The three women at the centre of the group, this time joined by the heavily shawled women to the left in the same drawing and an adaption of the man seen from behind, reappear in the Village landscape with a self-portrait, of 1614, now in the Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna (K. Ertz, op. cit., no. 278, fig. 283). Brueghel seems to have been particularly pleased with the gentleman seen from behind since he reappears again eleven years later in the centre foreground of the Peasant wedding in the Prado, Madrid, dated 1623 (K. Ertz, op. cit., no. 379, fig. 288). Sadly in none of these incarnations does he seem to be wearing the 'green satin' suggested by the inscription.
A closely comparable sheet of carefully drawn figure studies articulated with wash, showing figures in near identical dress, is at Windsor Castle (C. White and C. Crawley, The Dutch and Flemish Drawings of the Fifteenth to the Early Nineteenth Centuries in the Collection of Her Majesty the Queen at Windsor Castle, Cambridge, 1994, no. 331), while another was sold at Sotheby Parke Bernet, New York, 22 October 1970, lot 40 (K. Ertz, op. cit., fig. 623). Both these last two drawings were used by Brueghel for figures he painted in the church interiors of Hendrik Steenwijck the Younger of circa 1609. Although Brueghel's paintings are filled with almost innumerable figures, study sheets by the artist are very rare, indeed it has been suggested that no more than about a dozen are known (W.W. Robinson, Brueghel to Rembrandt, Dutch and Flemish Drawings from the Maida and George Abrams Collection, exhib. cat., London, British Museum, and elsewhere, 2002-3, under no. 36).