Francia came to England in 1795, when he first exhibited at the Royal Academy. He studied at Dr Monro's (1759-1833) 'Academy' and became friends with his fellow pupil Thomas Girtin (1775-1802). In 1799 these two young artists co-founded a sketching club called 'The Brothers'. Six years later Francia set up as a drawing master in Kensington and soon after he became Painter in Watercolours to the Duchess of York. Francia failed to gain election as an Associate of the Royal Academy and in 1817 he returned to Calais, where he gave lessons to his most famous pupil Richard Parkes Bonington (1802-1828).
Francia's early work is executed in deep dark tones and shows the influence of Girtin. Later his colours became thinner, tending more to yellow-brown and greys. The current lot is from a group of coastal scenes, which were painted in Calais. Bonington's influence can clearly be seen in these paintings, which are considered the most successful of Francia career.