Boyd met William Bell Scott in Newcastle in 1859, when he was master of the Government School of Design and she was looking for someone to help her develop her artistic talent. Although Scott was married, they fell in love. Dated January 1864, the painting was executed during Boyd’s stay in Tynemouth with her elder brother, Spencer, with whom she lived at Penkill Castle. Knowing that Bell Scott and his wife Letitia had been in the town since the previous November, Boyd and her brother arrived on 6 January in order for him to recuperate following a succession of operations. The ruins of Tynemouth Priory can be seen out of the artist's window.