Tarbert House, built overlooking the mouth of the River Shannon in County Kerry, is still in the possession of the Leslie family for whom it was built in 1690. The town of Tarbert, because of its sheltered harbour and deep waters, became an important maritime strategic location, and prospered during the 18th and 19th Centuries as an import and export port town, but simultaneously import and export duties were raised to pay for foreign military campaigns and subsequently there was an increase in attempted smuggling. To reduce the loss to the Treasury, the coastlines of Britain and Ireland were patrolled by a fleet of sailing cutters, an example of which can be seen in one of the present watercolours. The soldier in the foreground of the other watercolour refers to Sir Edward Leslie's raising of the Loyal Tarbert Regiment of Fencibles Infantry in the mid-1790s.
Notable visitors to Tarbert House have included Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790), who visited Sir Edward Leslie as part of his effort to rekindle trade between Ireland and America, Daniel O'Connell (1775-1847), the Irish patriot, who was a friend of the family,
The present watercolours are probably studies for the larger oil paintings by Barrow of the same subject in the Royal Collection at Windsor Castle.