Brought up in America, Boughton settled in London in 1861 after studying in Paris. Like many of his contemporaries he found Holland a rich source of subject matter. In 1886 he published 'Rambles in Holland' with illustrations by himself and E A Abbey. This picture shows the town of Hoorn on the Zuyder See. The harbour had silted up and so the quay was little used. The harbour master has enlisted some young women to weed the pavement so that it looks tidy. The 1897 guide to the Tate Gallery described this work as 'delightful in its cool colour, its quaint costumes, its sympathetic appreciation of Dutch types, and its little bit of background, with the quaint gabled houses and the clustered willows'.