Jobling is one of the most celebrated painters of the North-East. Born in Newcastle where his father was a glass-maker, he worked in the same trade whilst simultaneously taking evening classes in painting at the Newcastle School of Art, taught by W. Cosens-Way. Following the success of an exhibition in 1899, he turned solely to painting. He exhibited in London at the Royal Academy and Suffolk Street, and was elected president of the Bewick Club, where fellow members included other local artists such as Carmichael, Emmerson and Headley. He also illustrated Wilson's Tales of the Borders. His work can be found in the Laing Art Gallery, Newcastle, and in many private collections.
John Anthony Woods was a typical patron. Senior partner in the family bank, Woods & Partners, based in Newcastle and Alnwick, he played a central part in the business life of the city, particularly that relating to shipping. The bank was later acquired by Barclays during the lifetime of his son, Sir James. He lived at Swarland Hall, a house now demolished between Morpeth and Alnwick, that had interesting naval associations. The estate had belonged to Alexander Davison (1750-1829) a friend of Nelson's who engaged him as agent at naval tribunals where the spoils of battle were distributed. The estate, which is still extant, boasts a memorial obelisk to Nelson, and a line of trees which indicate the relative positions of the British and French vessels at the Battle of the Nile.
The picture has passed by family descent. On the reverse is an inscription from William Wordsworth: 'A calm so deep, the river glideth at his own sweet will. God! The very houses seem asleep, and all that mighty heart is lying still'. Wordsworth's poem, Composed upon Westminster Bridge, Sept. 3, 1802, no doubt served as Jobling's inspiration. The picture is an early work. An unidentified local newspaper cutting, presumably a review from the exhibition in 1870, comments how 'a hitherto unknown artist' had conjoured a 'wonderful picture from a difficult subject'. The critic comments on Jobling's proficiency in depicting the shipping, and makes a favourable comparison with Carmichael, then the most prominent local artist of marine subjects.