In 1829 Callow moved to Paris where he met Thomas Shotter Boys (1803-74), from whom he developed a technique encorporating calligraphic brush strokes into picturesque city scenes. After taking over Boys' Paris studio in 1834, Callow began a series of walking tours of France. In October 1836 he and the artist Charles Bentley (1806-54) travelled to Rouen and Le Havre, executing sketches of the cities and countryside that they encountered, which would have been worked up into finished pictures like the present watercolour in the studio on their return. The present watercolour illustrates Boys' influence, and that of Boys' own mentor Richard Parkes Bonington (1802-28), in its purity of colour and clarity of line (for a watercolour by Boys of Rouen also dated to the late 1830s see lot 177). There is another watercolour, of a similar view of Rouen by Callow at the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge.