Because Medieval 's-Hertogenbosch was home to many inhabitants who had made their fortunes in trade, many merchants from near and far came to the city. For Jheronimus this very wealthy group without doubt represented a major opportunity to receive commissions. For at least one work, the Adoration of the Magi, we know for certain that the patron was a merchant: one Petrus Scheyfve. But we are also aware of the patrons of a number of Jheronimus' other world famous paintings.
Adoration of Magi
The patron, Peeter Scheyfve, a successful cloth merchant from Antwerp, is depicted on the left-hand panel of Jheronimus' triptych Adoration of the Magi along with his coat of arms and motto ('Een voer al' [One for All]). On the right-hand panel, Saint Agnes symbolises Scheyfve's second wife Agnes de Gramme. Because Scheyfve's first wife died in 1491 and Agnes de Gramme died by 1498 at the latest, we can conclude that the Adoration of the Magi must have been painted between 1491 and 1498.
John the Baptist in the Wilderness and St. John the Evangelist on Patmos
In 1475, the famous sculptor Adriaen van Wesel and Jheronimus' father Anthonius van Aken consulted on creating a new altarpiece for the Illustre Brotherhood of Our Blessed Lady's chapel in Saint John's Cathedral. When Van Wesel completed the carving work, Jheronimus painted the wings depicting the saints John the Baptist and John the Evangelist who were both worshipped as patron saints of the cathedral. Recent research has revealed that a kneeling man was painted on one of the wings (under an enormous thistle next to John the Baptist). This was probably Jan van Vladeracken, the then provost (chairman) of the brotherhood.
Garden of Earthly Delights
The Garden of Earthly Delights triptych was probably ordered from Jheronimus by a member of the Van Nassau family. Perhaps Engelbrecht II van Nassau, who was a confidant of Bosch's admirer Duke Philip the Handsome. Or his successor Henry III of Nassau. Both were, moreover, present in 's-Hertogenbosch in 1481 during the 14th Chapter of the Order of the Golden Fleece.
In 1504, Duke Philip the Handsome ordered a large Last Judgement from Bosch. A museum in Boston has an Ecce Homo in Bosch's style. Its patron was Pieter van Os, a sworn brother and the town clerk. Although the painting is not considered an original it is highly likely that it was created in Bosch's studio. Patrons, be it painted over or otherwise, can be seen on the triptych of the Crucifixion of St Julia, on a Crucifixion with a Donor and the Ecce Homo. So far, none of them have been identified.