Schellinks, born in Amsterdam, is best known for his topographical drawings, which he executed on his trips through different European countries, while his brother Daniel Schellinks (1627-1701) is mainly known for his varied landscapes.
From the diary kept during his journey (now in the Royal Museum, Copenhagen) we know that the nineteen year-old Willem Schellinks departed to France on 7 April 1646, arriving in Nantes on 17 May. He probably travelled with his Amsterdam friend and fellow-artist Lambert Doomer (see lot 373). In Nantes they visited Doomer's brothers, who had settled there earlier. In a letter dated 25 November 1997 Professor Werner Sumowski has confirmed the attribution, and pointed out to a drawing by Doomer of the same view, W. Sumowski, Drawings of the Rembrandt School, New York, 1979, no. 469x, illustrated. It includes the same architectural features and was obviously done from the same viewpoint. A similar traveller with his dog among the foreground figures would seem to suggest that the two artists may have been seated close to each other when drawing these views.
Schellinks and Doomer left Nantes on 3 July, and continued their trip visiting Angers, Saumur, Tours, Amboise, Blois, Orlans and Chartres arriving in Paris on 10 August. They later separated and met again in Amsterdam. Schellinks' comparable view of Tours with a similar signature is in the Lugt Collection, Fondation Custodia, Institut Nerlandais, Paris, Dessins de Paysagistes Hollandais Du XVIIe Sicle, exhib. cat., Bruxelles, Bibliothque Albert Ier and elsewhere, 1968, no. 144, pl. 84.
Further details on Schellinks' diary entries of this visit are mentioned in H.M. van den Berg, 'Willem Schellinks en Lambert Doomer in Frankrijk', in Oudheidkundig Jaarboek, XI, 1943, pp. 9-25.
Another trip across Europe made by Schellinks included one he made with Jacob Thierry the Younger, the son of an Amsterdam merchant, to England, France, Italy, Sicily, Malta, Germany and Switzerland between 14 July 1661 and 24 August 1665. A drawing from this trip of Malta was sold at Christie's, London, 12 April 1983, lot 156. His views of the Fontana Nuova near Valletta from this trip are in the Albertina and the sterreichische Nationalbibliothek, Vienna (M. Bisanz-Prakken, Die Landschaft im Jahrhundert Rembrandts, exhib. cat., Vienna/New York, t993, no. 101 and p. 190, illustrated).