This painting was in England and attributed to Rembrandt as early as 1775. Subsequently it has been thought to be by Nicolas Maes, who was in Rembrandt's studio in the years around 1650. This is not, however, entirely persuasive and, more recently, the work has been attributed to another Dordrecht painter, Cornelis Bisschop (1630 - 1674), who knew Maes's work well and imitated it. However, no signed painting by Bisschop displays the broad handling which is so characteristic of this picture and this interesting attribution must, for the time being, remain speculative.
The National Gallery, Trafalgar Square, London WC2N 5DN