In the autumn of 1838 Callow made his first visit to Switzerland. Arriving in Lausanne, Callow and his acquaintance Mr. Forman, trecked with knapsacks to Vevey and on to Villeneuve, from here they took a steam boat to Geneva. As they travelled Callow stopped to make sketches, creating a visual account of the journey. Two years later Callow made another tour of Switzerland, again in the company of Forman. Both of Callow's stays in Geneva were short and views of the city are correspondingly rare among his exhibited works.
The present watercolour depicts Geneva's harbour and the old town. Calligraphic brush strokes and luminous washes give a remarkable freshness to the scene.