Exhibited, Salon, Paris, 1748, no. 19 and again in 1750, no. 24, as two of four paintings; possibly collection of M. Perinet, Paris; Anonymous sale, Bonnefons, Ducrocq (auctioneer), Paris, 1–2 February 1839 (Lugt 15274), no. 76 as La Leçon de flûte; collection of Baron Brunet-Denon (1779–1846), by 1846; his sale, Bonnefons, Paris, 2–15 February, 1846, no. 222 as La leçon de flûte; collection of Dr Benoist, by 1857; his sale, Horsin Déon, Paris, 30 March 1857 (Lugt 23488), no. 4, as L’Agréable Leçon ; Anonymous sale, 17 February 1868, no. 6; collection of Mayer Amschel de Rothschild (1818–74), Mentmore Towers, by 1874; by descent to his daughter Hannah Primrose (1851–90), Countess of Rosebery (until 1890) and her husband Archibald Primrose (1847–1929), 5th Earl of Rosebery, Mentmore Towers and London, until 1929?; collection of Colonel Edgar Garbisch (1899–1979) and Mrs Bernice Chrysler Garbisch (1907–79), New York and Pokety Farms, Cambridge, Maryland, by 1956; by whom traded, with The mysterious basket, for Claude Monet’s In the garden (Knoedler stock no. A1780), with Knoedler Gallery (brokered by Rosenberg & Stiebel (dealer), February 1956 (CA 4978, CA 4979); sold to Rosenberg & Steibel (dealer), New York, October 1956; purchased by Galerie Durand-Matthiesen (dealer), Geneva, 1956; collection of George Ortiz-Patino (1927–2013), Geneva, Switzerland, before 1982; with David Carritt Pty. Ltd. (dealer), London, 1982; from where purchased for the Felton Bequest, 1982.
 Exhibited with The lovers surprised (Les amants surprise) (whereabouts unknown) and Shepherd playing the bagpipes, in collection of Major John Mills, Hampshire
 Baron Dominique-Vivant Brunet-Denon was nephew and heir of Baron Dominique Vivant-Denon (1746–1825).
 As pendant to The lovers surprised (Les amants surprise), lot no. 6.
 It has been suggested that the early provenance 1750–1884 is incorrect, with the two paintings being kept together and acquired, as a pair by Rosebery sometime in the mid nineteenth century. See David Marshall’s catalogue entries for the The mysterious basket and The enjoyable lesson, in European Masterpieces: Six centuries of paintings from the National Gallery of Victoria, Australia (exh cat.), Melbourne: NGV, 2000, p. 94 (cat nos 38 and 39).
 Hannah Primrose, the Countess of Rosebery (1851–90), was daughter to Baron Mayer Amschel de Rothschild (1818–74). In 1874 upon the death of her father, Baron de Rothschild, she inherited the estates and chattels, including Mentmore Towers where this painting was housed (in the boudoir). Her husband, Archibald Primrose (1847–1929), the 5th Earl of Rosebery served as England’s Prime Minister from 1894–95. Not included in Earl of Rosebery (former Lord Dalmeny) sale, Christie’s, London, 5 May 1939, or in sales containing paintings owned by Lady Sybil Grant at Sotheby’s, London, 26 July 1939 and 19 March 1947. Also not included in Fine French furniture and objects of art sale (various properties, including Lord Rosebery), Sotheby’s, New York, 28-29 October 1949.
 See Series III. Commission books, 1879-1973,Commission book 5a: CA3810-CA5418, January 1951 January – April 1958, p. 113, from M. Knoedler & Co. records, approximately 1848-1971, The Getty Research Institute, Los Angeles, Accession no. 2012.M.54, accessed http://hdl.handle.net/10020/cifa2012m54
 George Ortiz-Patino (1927–2013) was a grandson of Bolivian tin magnate Simon Iturri Patino, and son of Antenor Patino, the heir to the tin fortune. He amassed a large collection, which included many Pacific and African art objects. He was the brother of Jaime Ortiz-Patino renowned collector of French art and decorative arts.