Oil sketches such as this were listed in the inventory of Cornelis van Haarlem’s workshop at his death. He seems to have created them by copying figures from his own completed paintings. Exactly why the artist might have done this is not known, although it is possible that they were intended to serve as a kind of ‘pattern-book’ of examples for workshop assistants to copy. Unusually, there is another sketch by a different artist on the other side of the paper (verso): a Marine View with Shipping by Cornelis van Wieringen (1580-1633), who worked with in the same studio as Cornelis van Haarlem. The work probably dates from the late 1620s to 1630s.