The attribution of this painting has been questioned, and it was not included in Ertz 1979. The alternate attribution, of both this painting and its copy (formerly Amsterdam, De Boer; copper, 8 x 11.5), has ben to Joris Hoefnagel. While the Ambrosiana painting is clearly related to Hoefnagel’s work, it is certainly by Jan Brueghel, and is explicitly listed as such in Borromeo’s own 1618 “Act of Donation”: “Un scorcio et una Rosa in un piccolo quadretto di man del detto Giovanni Brueghel.” The full document is published by Arlene Quint, Cardinal Federico Borromeo as a Patron and Critic of the Arts and his MUSAEUM of 1625 (New York: Garland, 1986), 293-306. A less settled question is whether the 1605 rametto refers to this picture, for it has been argued that this is the bagatello that Brueghel sent his patron in 1596, shortly after his return to Antwerp (letter of October 10, 1596; Crivelli 7). I feel that the present painting must have been sent in 1605, for it relates not at all to the works Brueghel had been doing up to then, while it relates rather well to pictures he began sending to Borromeo shortly thereafter.
In 1611 codicil there is also mention of a Hazelnut and Flowers by Jan, described as a "very little painting", now lost.
Another copy in Academia Carrara, Bergamo.
Letter to Borromeo, 8 July 1605. “accompainato con un ramento fatto d’me con molto diligenci” (Crivelli, pg. 50).