On 22 July 1885 John Brett set sail from Gosport in his schooner Viking, bound for Oban on the coast of Argyll. He arrived on 2 August, and dropped anchor in Ardentrive Bay, at the north end of Kerrera Island, just across the sound from Oban town. The artist's entry for 23 August in the Viking log (Private Collection) describes the events of that day:
'Very fine day with the least possible northerly air. I took a 19 x 10 canvas in the Punt and with Michael [his eldest son] for companion and some sandwiches for lunch rowed down the sound of Kerrera and went ashore at the Ferry slip on the Island side. Hauled punt up on the slip & made her fast to a ring. Set off to walk towards the castle at the S end of the Island. The scene across the sound from the bay of the black buoy was extremely beautiful where there is a big house in a wooded dell the hills having fine bastions after the fashion of Skye all perfectly feasible to paint. Some way further on things not improving we walked back to this spot and settled to a sketch. The flies were extremely annoying. Michael bathed and got some cockles. This sketch promises well for a large picture. A stray German passed us and gave me a fill of nice Turkish Baccy.'
We are grateful to Charles Brett for his help in preparing this catalogue entry.