Albert Goodwin was a student of Arthur Hughes and Ford Madox Brown, who predicted that his pupil would become 'one of the greatest landscape painters of the age'. In 1871 he travelled to Italy with John Ruskin, who he credited with instilling in him a love of form and an appreciation of the importance of drawing. The precise, Pre-Raphaelite, naturalism which characterised his earlier work had, by the 1880s, been replaced by consciously poetic and resolute ethereal effects.
In addition to Europe, Goodwin travelled extensively, visiting Egypt, India, the West Indies, North America and New Zealand, but in 1877 he moved to Iframcombe on the North Devon Coast and remained there until 1906. The present picture is a much larger version of a watercolour he painted in 1888 and refered to in a letter to James Pyke Thompson in 1893 describing the composition as 'Ifracombe (with clothes drying in the foreground)'