Eckersberg's fascination with shipping and the sea -- the primary subject of his paintings in the 1830s and the 1840s -- dated back to his childhood upbringing on the Jutland coast, and a brief but early apprenticeship with a local craftsman, Jes Jessen. Jessen had a sideline in the relatively new genre of ship portraiture, which demanded the accurate rendition of a ship's manifold individual characteristics.
Marine painting provided Eckersberg with the perfect forum in which to indulge his long-lived interest in rendering changing atmostpheric conditions, which he also pursued with almost scientific thoroughness. He made almost daily meteorological studies, annotating his drawings with details of wind, waves and clouds. As Suzanne Ludvigsen writes of a comparable painting; 'Nothing about the painting has been left to chance. The degree of complexity, the dimensions of the canvas, the size and position of the ships on the sea all play their parts in a precisely calculated composition -- as do the clouds, the waves and each nuance of colour'.(Exh. cat. Danish Paintings of the Golden Age, Artemis Fine Arts, New York, 1999, no. 2)