At the time of the Christie's sale in 1936, this panel formed part of a series of four panels depicting the Four Seasons.
Of these Winter
are signed and dated 1600, but the same date recorded by Wied on this panel is no longer legible. The set was dispersed by Pieter de Boer; Winter
went to a Stockholm private collection and was later with Galerie de Jonckheere in Paris,1
and this panel were sold to A.H. van Heek in Enschede. Spring
re-appeared on the market in 2000, when it was offered at Christie's by a descendant.2
While in the panel of Spring
Valckenborch concentrates upon the pleasures of courtly love, here he also includes seasonal labours such as sheep dipping and shearing, appropriate to the month of June. Similar scenes are to be found in another, slightly smaller, panel recorded by Wied in the Jacobs van Merlen collection in Antwerp.3
By this relatively late date, Marten van Valckenborch had moved from Antwerp to Frankfurt, where he had set up a flourishing workshop with his brother Lucas.
1. The panel was subsequently offered anonymously ('The Property of a Private Collector'), London, Christie's, 8 December 2004, lot 19.
2. Anonymous sale, London, Christie's, 13 December 2000, lot 12.
3. Wied 1990, no. 7.