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Cooke's reputation as a marine painter was established from the time he first exhibited at the British Institution in 1835. In 1837, he made his first trip to Holland. After that his shipping scenes began more obviously to reflect the influence of seventeenth-century Dutch painters. This picture was begun after a three month trip to Holland between July and September 1843. He painted it at the Kent home of William Wells, who was a prominent collector of British art. Vernon purchased it in 1844, having previously bought from Cooke in 1836. Cooke seems to have worked on two other pictures for Vernon, in 1840 and 1842, though neither entered his collection.

April 1993