Gerke Henkes, known painter of figures, interiors and genre scenes, came from a family of distillers (Henkes jenever). He started his working life as a notary clerk. When he made sketches of almost all visitors that showed his keen observation skills, he was allowed to study at the academy in Antwerp. Then he visited Germany and Paris. In 1869 the painter settled in The Hague, where he was included in the circles around Pulchri. Henkes was an internationally known and appreciated artist in his day, who regularly exhibited his work in Munich, Paris and Berlin around 1900.