The wooded landscapes of Jacob Esselens, Simon de Vlieger and Anthonie Waterloo can on occasions be very hard to separate. Although this fluid and accomplished example was sold in 1998 under the name of De Vlieger, the rather precise definition of tree trunks and branches, combined with broad yet delicate grey wash, is extremely comparable to the handling seen in one of the very few signed drawings of this type by Esselens.1
It therefore seems more logical to retain the attribution to Esselens that is inscribed, in a 17th-century hand, on the reverse of the sheet.
1. Sold, Amsterdam, Sotheby's, 21 November 1989, lot 50, also as Simon de Vlieger, but subsequently recognised as being signed with initials JE