Hemy studied art in Newcastle but tried first to be a sailor and then a monk before committing himself to painting. His early works, including this one, show a Pre-Raphaelite concern with natural detail fused with a sense of melancholy. Hemy took the picture with him when he went to Antwerp in 1867 to study under the Belgian academic artist Baron Leys, who also taught Alma-Tadema and Tissot. 'Evening Grey' was painted at Clovelly in north Devon. In later life Hemy became a succesful marine artist, working from a large house in Falmouth.