Hamel painted Moses and the Daughters of Jethro in Quebec City, after an anonymous 17th century French painting then in the possession of Joseph Légaré, who acquired it from the Fonds Desjardins. This collection consisted of 180 religious paintings that had arrived in Quebec City in 1817 and 1820. After the French Revolution confiscated the property of the aristocracy and clergy, the government sold the works it did not wish to keep in France’s national collections. Through the offices of the Abbés Desjardins, a number found their way to Lower Canada, where they were distributed among churches and chapels after being restored by young artists. Many parishes that were unable to acquire originals commissioned copies by local artists, in particular Roy-Audy, Légaré, Plamondon and Hamel.