The artist first trained in The Hague under Aert Schoumann, an artist best known for his paintings of birds. Although he is thought to have begun his independent career by executing landscapes and seascapes in the manner of Willem van de Velde II, Van Os soon reverted to still lifes, adopting a style close to that of Jan van Huysum.
The present unpublished picture is a classic example of the mature output of the artist and is typical in its use of a complex assymmetrical floral composition set in a hazy landscape. It can be dated to the mid-1770s, the decade in which the artist can be seen to reached the pinnacle of his creative ability, and compares closely with a slightly smaller composition, also featuring a bird's nest, dated 1775, in the collection of the Duke of Northumberland.
Van Os's pictures have long proved especially popular amongst English patrons. From 1773 he submitted pictures annually to the Society of Artists exhibitions in London and his work was exhibited throughout the nineteenth century first at the British Institution and later at the Royal Academy; a considerable number of his pictures in consequence entered English collections.