Although it has not been possible to identify the large first rate in this painting, the work is clearly the companion piece to one illustrated in E.H.H. Archibald's Dictionary of Sea Painters, 2nd edition, 1989, page 366, plate 358. Essentially identical except for the fact that in the published work the first rate has just begun to furl her sails after anchoring, even the attitudes of the figures in the foreground have been copied remarkably closely thereby indicating that the two pictures must have been executed in tandem. Two pairs of rather comparable views, all portraying the first rate H.M.S. Caledonia, were sold at Christie's King Street Rooms on 21st November 1975 (lot 43) and 16th July 1998 (lot 82) respectively, whilst the painting here clearly shows a different vessel, albeit one which is very similar.
Port Mahon, now Minorca's capital, boasts one of the largest natural harbours in the world and was of the greatest strategic importance to Great Britain during the long years of enmity with France and Spain. First captured by General Stanhope in 1708, the island remained in dispute throughout the eighteenth century until Britain finally relinquished her claim at the Peace of Amiens in March 1802. Presumably pre-dating the latter event, Schranz depicts the anchorage below the naval hospital from where so many fleets set out during a century of almost continual conflict between the Royal Navy and its various European adversaries.