Not much is known about Willem Heda. He lived all his life in Haarlem and joined the St Luke's guild there in 1631, holding a series of posts. While Heda painted several figure studies early in his career, he later concentrated exclusively on still lifes. Heda was the consummate master in depicting light reflected on smooth, shiny surfaces such as pewter, silver or brass candlesticks. He often depicted the same objects in different paintings, which became known as ‘banquets’ or ‘breakfasts’.