Drawings by Gerardus van Veen are rare, and little is known about the artist himself. His father was recorded in Haarlem in 1626 but had moved away by 1628, probably to Beverwijk a few miles north. Both van Veen and his brother were natural history draftsmen; many more of his brother's drawings exist today. The brothers practiced the same highly finished, meticulous style, but their authorship can be distinguished because they signed and dated their drawings. Both van Veens belonged to a group of artists that included Herman Saftleven, who made refined natural history illustrations in watercolors for a wealthy clientele, many of whom owned country houses on the Vecht River outside Amsterdam. Ranging in date from 1643 to 1678, most of van Veen's studies depict birds.