Little is known about the artist Francis Holman. He was a painter of seascapes, ship's portraits and dockyard scenes, such as this small private dockyard on the Thames at Wapping. It is recorded that at one time Holman lived at Wapping, so he would have been intimate with the area and well able to execute this topographically accurate scene. He depicts with care the busy action of the dock, with ships in dry dock, and men unloading cargo. Even the sailmaker's firm of Morley, which is inscribed on the sign on the building to the extreme left, is known to have existed, directories listing it in Wapping until 1784.