Gerard Houckgeest was born in The Hague and received his training there from Bartholomeus van Bassen.
Initially Houckgeest painted – like his master Van Bassen – mainly fantasy architecture. This changed however around 1650 when he began to paint existing buildings. Like his colleague, Emanuel de Witte he was a very talented painter of church interiors. Houckgeest painted the interiors of both the Oude Kerk and the Nieuwe Kerk in Delft.
The present painting has an interesting history: before WWII it belonged to the dealer Jacques Goudstikker and was looted by the Nazi authorities in July 1940. It was recovered by the Allies in 1945 and handed into the custody of the Dutch Government. The work was finally restituted in February 2006 to the heirs of Jacques Goudstikker.