Thomas Wyck was born at Beverwijk, near Haarlem, where it is likely that he later received his early training. He entered the Haarlem Guild in 1642, and spent some time traveling around Italy, painting Italian views and Mediterranean harbour scenes in particular. In the course of his travels Wyck also visited England around 1673, possibly with his son Jan Wyck (1645-1700), who settled in London. In England, Thomas Wyck was commissioned to paint two pictures for Ham House, one of which depicted 'An Alchemist'. Wyck painted several versions of the subject in the course of his career, of which the present work is an example.