Prawn Fishing was inspired by Collins’s trip to the Isle of Wight in 1827. Although it was painted entirely in his London studio, Collins’s handling of the landscape still retains the freshness of his outdoor oil sketches. This can be attributed to a resolution he made after the artist Sir William Beechey criticised his slow working practice. Collins resolved to paint with ‘less timidity and anxiety; as nothing can replace the want of that vigour and freshness, which things done quickly (with a constant reference to Nature) necessarily possess’.
Collins was the father of the novelist Wilkie Collins.