Willem Claesz. Heda's exact birthdate is unknown, though a portrait by Jan de Bray dated 1678 gives his age as forty-eight, so he would have been born in 1593 or 1594. In 1631 Heda became a member of Haarlem's Guild of St Luke, which he helped to reorganise. In 1637, 1643 and 1651 he held the office of 'hoofdman', or captain, and in 1641 and 1662 he served as the guild's dean. The painter died in Haarlem in 1680. In addition to his son Gerret Willemsz. Heda, whose still lifes rendered in crystalline forms follow the example of his father, Maerten Boelema de Stomme, Arnold Beresteyn, and Hendrick Heerschop are said to have been his pupils. Although there are a few surviving figure studies, Heda painted primarily still lifes. Together with Pieter Claesz., Willem Claesz. Heda was one of the main representatives of the monochrome 'banketjes', or mealtime still lifes that in their reduced colouring reflect the tonal painting popular in Holland beginning in the 1620s.