Although principally known as a painter in watercolour, Foster produced some work in oil from the early 1860s. The figures in our painting are typical of this period and are comparable to those in works such as The Girl with the Orange (City of Bristol Museum and Art Gallery). It has been suggested that the location of the present picture is in the Cullercoats area of Northumberland, near to Foster's birthplace at Tynemouth. Cullercoats was a fishing village and the figures in this oil are watching a fishing coble on the water, with a creel in the foregournd.
In the same year that he exhibited this painting at the Royal Academy Birket Foster also showed a watercolour showing the influence of Turner, and a freedom of line and wash typical of his unfinished works, at the Royal Watercolour Society (no. 266) entitled Return of the Lifeboat with St Michael's Mount in the distance (Bedfordshire Borough Council, Bedford, The Cecil Higgins Art Gallery).
We are grateful to Jan Reynolds for her help in the preparation of this catalogue entry.