This is the first documented work (apart from the Mouse, Rose, and Butterfly (Milan)) sent to Borromeo from Antwerp and it is also one of Brueghel's earliest allegories, following close on the larger and more ambitious Vienna version of 1604. The present work is described in a letter of 8 July 1605. Brueghel as usual names no collaborator but he does describe its "historia" as Ceres with cornucopia of fruit, with 4 putini signifying four elements: "terra" with fruits flowers and animals, water with rare shells and fish and other "bisaria", air with birds. He doesn't describe fire.
Described in a letter from Jan Brueghel to Cardinal Borromeo, Crivelli p.50
Letter to Borromeo, 8 July 1605. “via del sig. Vergaini, un quadret delle grandees ordinario, finito con gusto et piacer, et spera d’aver honor. L’istoria e la deu Ceres con le corne copia peina d frutti in bratci, accompainato con quater putini, signifcandi gli guatri elementi: Terra con frutti fior et animali: l’Aqua con motli coccilli raro et pessi vario et altri bisaria: l’Ario con motli sorti d’ oticelli: in tutti ben finite” (Criveilli, pg. 50).