Bonington was born near Nottingham but moved to Calais in 1817 with his parents. There they set up a lace-making business before settling in Paris the following year. Most of his short life was spent in France. Delacroix was not alone in admiring his 'marvellous grasp of effects and the facility of his execution'. Working at first in watercolour, Bonington took up oils around 1823. He spent most of 1824 in Dunkerque and probably painted this view of St-Omer from the Boulogne-Calais road that year.