Pieter Pourbus was born in Gouda around 1520, but nothing of his early training is known. He is recorded as having moved to Bruges to marry, where he subsequently became master of the Guild of St Luke (painters’ guild) in 1543. Pourbus enjoyed a prosperous career in Bruges and was one of the city’s leading artists, becoming Dean of the painters’ guild twice. He was also actively involved in other aspects of Bruges life, for example, he once designed pageant costumes for the Rhetoricians. Local government officials, such as the Bruges magistrates, were amongst his most important patrons, although he also received commissions from the local Spanish community. In 1580 he was appointed ‘wijkmeester’ (Dutch for district chairman) of the St Nicolaas Zestendeel area of Bruges.