This interesting and unusual painting by Cuyp can be compared to the wonderful painting of the 'Wine Grower' in the Hermitage, St. Petersburg which is dated 1628. In both paintings the main focus is on the Tradesman, in our case the Craftsman, while a smaller scene plays out the main protagonist's métier in the background.
Dordrecht was an important town in the context of the wood trade and was also key in the Dutch ship building industry. It is not clear whether the background of our painting depicts a shipyard or another type of construction yard but it clearly alludes to the timber industry (although Dordrecht's importance in the timber trade had diminished somewhat since 1550). One could speculate that Cuyp was painting romanticized trade figures in a series from which the Carpenter and the Wine Grower are the only two currently identified.
Ribera Collection;Auction Nackers, Brussels, 16.10.1963, Lot. 115;Mr and Mrs Dechamps, Brussels, from 1967