Willem Claesz Heda was one of the most important still life painters of the 17th century, active in Haarlem. There are around 70 works to his name, painted almost entirely in one tint, often with a piece of lemon peel providing the only colour accent. His paintings were in great demand, Rubens owned two Heda's pieces. Breakfast still lifes were the favourite subjet of Heda's paintings. He was an expert at depicting silver, repeatedly using the same objects. Along with Pieter Claesz, Heda is regarded as a creator of monochromatic ontbijt (breakfast piece), although his predecessors Pieter Claesz and Floris van Dijck used brighter colors in their oeuvres.
Heda's son, Gerrit, was his student and soon recognised as a very talented still life painter.
Gerrit Willemsz Heda. Still Life with a Nautilus Cup, 1945