Bonaventura Peeters was born into a family of painters in 1614, including his brother Jan Gillis with whome he occasionally collaborated, most notably on the 'Siege of Calloo' which was painted in 1639 and had been commissioned by the Municipal Council of Antwerp. He is thought to have been apprenticed to Andries van Eertvelt and Simon de Vlieger, who was of some stylistic influence on the artist. By 1634 he was elected a member of the Guild in Antwerp.
Bonaventura was particularly well known for his stormy shipping pictures, such as the present work, with intricately drawn compositions often crowded with boats and mariners. As a young man he made several voyages at sea, gaining an intimate knowledge of the rigging of ships as exemplified in his paintings. He was also employed as a cartographer during the sieges of the towns of Calloo and Verebeeck.