The motif shows a part of Købke’s parents’ farm, where Købke had his own self-contained flat. The point of view adopted here only offers a limited impression of the house, making the sunlit, sprawling tree the main motif of the painting.
After the death of Købke’s father in 1843 Købke stayed at Blegdammen for two years until his mother had to sell the property in 1845. In all likelihood it was around this time that Købke began painting the farmhouse itself. Presumably to have something by which to remember a house that had been his home for twelve years he selected a number of motifs that were closely linked to his everyday life; all of these belong to the part of the house in which he had his own self-contained quarters. One of the scenes painted was this image of the garden steps leading up to his studio. The point of view adopted and the cropping of the motif are both strikingly off-kilter. The gables and stairs are cut off by the edge of the image, and the façade towards the road is heavily foreshortened. The depiction is entirely unrepresentative and offers only a limited impression of what the house looked like; a somewhat confusing choice in light of what we presume Købke’s intentions to have been. It may seem as if the sunlight determined the angle chosen. The gables are in the shade whereas the façade is strongly lit, and rays of sunlight fall upon the garden door and on the lush tree. This gives the sunlight an astonishing intensity.
The roof tiles in the left hand side of the painting have not been painted completely in. Perhaps the artist did not have time to finish the painting before moving, which makes 1845 a likely dating. As a companion piece for this painting he also did a canvas of a corner of the house (as viewed from the garden); both paintings have a dark green painted frame, which tells us that they have been hung without frames.
According to a note, now lost, on the back of the painting it was the property of the artist’s sister, Juliane Købke, as far back as 1847.