Now part of Tel Aviv, the city of Jaffa was one of the most ancient ports of the Mediterranean. After having been captured and retaken several times during the Crusades, it came under Egyptian rule at the beginning of the 14th Century and was virtually destroyed soon afterwards, for fear of its strategic significance in any future Crusades. It remained largely ruined for much of the 16th Century, having come under Ottoman rule, although it began to regain its importance as a stop for pilgrims travelling to Jerusalem and it continued to act as a port, although the surrounding seas were notorious for pirates.
The present drawing is stylistically comparable with A Mediterranean seascape by Jan Peeters I in the Fondation Custodia, Paris (Flemish Drawings of the 17th Century from the Collection of Frits Lugt, Institut Néerlandais, Paris, exhib. cat., London, Victoria & Albert Museum, and other locations, 1972, no. 69, pl. 97).