This picture shows clearly the influence on Ryckaert of the work of Paul Bril. Ryckaert travelled to Italy in 1605-10, and his early works show the influence of Bril's oeuvre at that point, although there is no evidence that the two fellow countrymen actually ever met (let alone that he was taught by him, as has been suggested). The present work, however, is more comparable to Bril's later output, and in particular to a group of marshy woodland scenes by Bril from the early 1620s, all on canvas, of which two are in the Louvre, Paris (inv. nos. 1113 and DL 1970-4), where the artist adopted a lowered viewpoint and a more naturalistic approach to landscape.
In consequence a date for the present painting of 1622-31 seems likely given that Ryckaert could have been familiar with Bril's work of this period from the many examples that are known to have been in Antwerp collections within his lifetime.
Another treatment of this composition by Ryckaert, presumed to be a secondary version, on panel and of larger dimensions (28 x 40 in.), from the the collection of the late Lord Wraxall at Tyntesfield, was sold in these Rooms, 11 December 2002, lot 20.
We are grateful to Drs. Luuk Pijl for suggesting the attribution on the basis of a transparency.