Oil on canvas, 97cm by 74cm.
The painting is thought to have been purchased by John, 5th Earl of Exeter (1648-1700), whilst on the Grand Tour.
Jean Tassel was born in Langres, in the Champagne region of France. He came from a family of artists and was a pupil in his father’s workshop.
By 1634 he was in Rome, where he remained for perhaps two years, and where he seems to have been influenced by the works of Caravaggio (1571-1610), which he will have seen there, particularly in his treatment of the effects of light, as is apparent in this painting.
He specialised in low life genre scenes and mythological works and was also known to have painted portraits.