As pointed out by Professor E.J. Sluyter in a e-mail of 18 March 2001 the present lot belongs to a group of pictures by an unknown hand working in close relationship with Gerard Dou in the early 1630's.They are characterised by literal quotations from pictures by Dou from circa 1630. In the present composition the motifs of the drum, helmet and shield, the easel, the window, the violin attached to the column and the costume of the scholar are taken from Dou's picture of a scholar in an interior, of circa 1630 (Hornstein collection, Montreal; W.J.Sumowski, Gemälde der Rembrandt-Schüler, 1983, p.530, fig.267).The facial type of the scholar is probably inspired by that of the man in a feathered cap by Dou, of almost the same time in the Gemäldegalerie, Kassel (W.J.Sumowski, Gemälde der Rembrandt-Schüler,I,1983,p.551,no.254,ill.).
As pointed out by E.LeRoy in the foreword of the 1857 sale catalogue, the Vilain XIIII collection, was among the finest collections of pictures in France in the beginning of the 19th century. It comprised works by Adriaen and Isaac van Ostade, Jacob van Ruisdael, Willem van Mieris and other Dutch masters of the 17th century.