Melchior d'Hondecoeter's (1636-1695) specialty of poultry painting was something of a family business. Melchior's father and grandfather had both been interested in animal painting, and an aunt was married to the painter Jan Baptist Weenix, an Italianist. After studying with his father, d'Hondecoeter was apprenticed to his uncle Weenix, and this gave him an opportunity to develop his technique and use of colour. Besides strikingly realistic scenes of birds, d'Hondecoeter also painted wall hangings with views of buildings and parks. Here, too, birds were usually involved. He was born in Utrecht and died in Amsterdam. Between 1659 and 1663, he worked in The Hague.