This drawing is from a group commissioned by Count Johannes von Nassau Saarbrücken und Saarwerden (1603-1677) for his house at Idstein near Taunus, north of Wiesbaden, between 1641 and 1674. The Count of Nassau, a great amateur of rare plants, had created spectacular gardens which were illustrated by Walther in his Florilegium. Walther first drew a series on vellum representing flowers, dated around 1646, followed by two series of birds, drawn on paper. All the drawings bear similar inscriptions in an elaborate calligraphy, most of them in Latin followed by a German translation in gothic script. In the case of the present sheet the translation reflects the local dialect of the Upper Rhine, the region where the Count of Nassau lived. 'Ein Kernel' is recorded in a 1775 Dictionary as a Teal in that diaclect.
The Count of Nassau's son Georg-Augustus was the last of the line, and on his death in 1721 most of Walther's work was acquired by Claude Aubriet, one of the most talented followers of Nicolas Robert. At Aubriet's posthumous sale, by which time the drawings were attributed to Hoefnagel, part of the group entered the French Royal Collection, while the remainder was bought by Count Guillaume-Chrestien de Lamoignon de Malesherbes (1721-1794), a member of the Académie des Sciences but most famous as an advocate for the defence in the trial of King Louis XVI. He was executed in the Terror.