Originally part of a sketchbook which was used by van de Velde around 1618-20 and of which G.S. Keyes knew fifteen pages. According to Keyes, 'the drawings in this sketchbook are among the most significant which Esaias ever produced. In them he articulates his progressive concept of Dutch landscape with complete assurance. The variety of subject represented - the riverview, the winterscene, the panorama and the village view - demonstrate Esaias' wide-ranging grasp of the material. These studies differ from his later sketchbooks in several significant ways. Each drawing is executed solely in chalk with no additional washes. The lack of wash underscores the intensity of the light which he only mutes by occasional chalk shading [...] He creates a series of unindelible images of the Dutch countrtyside that are precocious and important. The impact that these or similar drawings had on the young Jan van Goyen was immense. Like Esaias, Jan van Goyen's earliest sketchbook was in pen but he soon shifted to chalk and all his subsequent sketchbooks were in this favoured medium. For both artists chalk immediately had more appeal because subjects could be recorded more quickly and with less inconvenience' (Keyes, o. cit., pp. 237-8, under no. 78).
Keyes notes the particular attention paid in this drawing to the rendering of the smooth, glassy surface of the water, a theme to which van de Velde returned in his picture of The Ferry, completed shortly afterwards in 1622 (Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam; Keyes, op. cit., no. 104).