John Corbett served with the Royal Navy from the late 1830s to the 1870s, travelling in the Mediterranean, Africa & the Far East. In 1851, serving on the Penelope, he took part in the storming of Lagos where under heavy fire he was severely wounded whilst spiking the guns of a stockade. As a reward for his heroic devotion he was promoted to the rank of Commander. His next appointment was to the Contract Mail Steam ship Wolverene which seems to be when these drawings were executed and after she was wrecked in 1855 he proceeded to China on H.M.S Inflexible. He served during the Second Opium War (1856-60), and was present at the destruction of the Chinese war-boats at Tuoung Konan and of the Fatshan flotilla.