Following the extension of the Great Western Railway to West Cornwall in1877 the Cornish fishing towns of St Ives and Newlyn both began to attract artists, drawn by the beauty of the scenery, quality of light, simplicity of life and drama of the sea.

The artists known as the Newlyn school were led by Stanhope Forbes and Frank Bramley who settled there in the early 1880s. Newlyn painting combined the impressionist derived doctrine of working directly from the subject, and where appropriate in the open air (plein-airism), with subject matter drawn from rural life, particularly the life of the fishermen. Forbes’s The Health of the Bride and Bramley’s A Hopeless Dawn are quintessential Newlyn masterpieces.