The daughter of a clergyman, Maria van Oosterwyck moved to Amsterdam from Delft circa 1675. She studied with Jan Davidsz. de Heem and is recorded as being one of his pupils by the age of twenty-eight. Her standing as one of his most successful students is underscored by her considerable financial success. According to Arnold Houbraken, who describes her as 'demure and extraordinarily pious, yet merry and exceptionally industrious', she had many clients. She worked slowly and as a result her piecutes are relatively scarce, but she found favor with many royal patrons including Louis XIV, King Jan Sobieski of Poland, and the elector of Saxony. King William III paid her 900 guilders for one painting, possibly one of the two still lifes now at Kensington Palace, London, and the Emperor Leopold I and his wife were so pleased with her work that they sent her a gift of their portraits set in a diamond-studded frame. (see A. Houbraken, De Groote Schouburgh etc., 1718-21, ed. 1976, II, p. 216; and Bob Haak, The Golden Age: Dutch Painters of the Seventeenth Century, 1984, pp. 453-4).