Until the late nineteenth century this painting was assumed to be by Rembrandt and it was one of the most popular works at Dulwich. It was then re-attributed to Arent de Gelder, Rembrandt's last pupil. De Gelder's signature (lower right) was revealed during cleaning in 1946.
De Gelder took many of his master’s most instinctive experimental techniques and developed one of the most extreme painterly styles of the period. In this case, trees and signature alike are scrabbled into the wet paint with the wooden end of the brush, while the trunk of the tree seems to have been smeared onto the wet canvas with a fingertip.