Constable first went to Brighton in 1824, taking his wife Maria in an attempt to restore her failing health. He visited her there frequently in the mid-1820s and made many drawings and sketches, but this is his only large painting of a Brighton subject.
The 1820s were some of the busiest years of Brighton’s development as a fashionable seaside resort. Here Constable shows the bustling life of the beach against a backdrop of Brighton’s new hotels, residential quarters and the Chain Pier itself. The pier opened in 1823, shortly before Constable’s first visit, but was destroyed by storm in 1896.