The present picture is exceptional within the oeuvre of Willem Schellinks as his only known depiction of an interior. His output was until now thought to consist entirely of landscapes most of which are painted in the style of Jan Asselijn, under whom he is believed to have trained. Little is known about his life. He travelled through France in 1646, where he executed a number of landscape sketches, and then established himself in Amsterdam as a painter and a poet. He accompanied Jakob Thierry, the son of an Amsterdam ship dealer, on a Grand Tour in the early 1660s, returning to Holland in 1665 where, two years later, he married Maria Neus, the widow of the engraver Danker Dankerts.
As observed when sold by Jan Teersteg in 1808, the picture appears to relate stylistically to Salomon Koninck (erroneously referred to as 'Philip Konig' in the Teersteg catalogue). Several comparable interiors by Koninck from the 1640s can be cited, including the picture in the present sale (see preceding lot). But the composition is perhaps nearest to the Louvre picture, in which an elderly philosopher is seated by a window with a similar spiral staircase on the left side. The refined handling of detail, particularly the objects on the table, is reminiscent of the work of the Leiden fijnschilders, and Gerrit Dou in particular (see, for example, his Interior with a Violinist, dated 1637, in the National Gallery of Scotland). Given these influences, it is tempting to speculate that Schellinks painted the present work in Amsterdam in his youth, before travelling to France, a period from which no other work by the artist is known.