James Clarke Hook exhibited for over sixty years at the Royal Academy, submitting his first picture in 1839 and his last in 1902. He also occasionally exhibited at the British Institution. He established his reputation as a painter of coastal scenes and seascapes, although he also painted landscape and historical genre. Luff Boy, his Academy exhibit of 1859, was much praised by Ruskin, and his oil The Brook of the same year, was recently included in the Ruskin, Turner and The Pre-Raphaelites exhibition at the Tate, to demonstrate, according to the catalogue 'the extent to which Ruskin's view of what constituted a Pre-Raphaelite manner had become established beyond the Pre-Raphaelite circle by the end of the 1850s'.
Commenting on the present picture, the Art Journal (op. cit.) wrote: 'The veteran Mr J.C. Hook has hardly, at any period of his practice, done better than in the four important pictures of sea and coast which he sends to Burlington House. A departure from his fixed canons - from his monotony of scheme in colour harmony - we cannot at this stage expect; but if we accept his unvarying standpoint in dealing with the narrow section of nature and humanity which touches him, we must admit that the Dutch canal scene called 'A Dutch Pedlar', and the British coast scene named 'Breakfasts for the Porth', are among the most sympathetic and the most accomplished performances of this ever vigorous author'.