A native of the Mull of Kintyre, McTaggart would have known the peculiar wave formations found in Cauldrons Bay since he was a child. West facing and unprotected from the Atlantic, it was full of foam and spume. Cauldrons Bay, painted in 1907, was one of the last important pictures that McTaggart painted at Machrihanish and which his biographer, J. L. Caw, considered '...in freshness, energy and living beauty stand near the very top of his achievement.' The subject enabled him to paint with exceptional freedom, revelling in the transient effects of light on water. The picture best exemplifies his soubriquet of 'The Scottish Impressionist'.