Vernet executed a number of small marine paintings on copper. A marvelous set of four, measuring 29.5 x 43.5 cm. and depicting The Times of Day, were sold at Christie's, London, Dec. 8, 1989, lot 85. They had been commissioned in 1757 by one of Vernet's most important patrons, the Marquis de Villette, a high-placed member of the royal administration; six years earlier, Villette's elder brother, the Directeur des Postes in Lyon, had himself commissioned from the artist a pair of tiny landscapes on copper plates.
The present painting, which is executed on the back of an old engraver's copper, probably dates from late in Vernet's career, roughly the early to mid-1780s. The figure of the fisherman hauling in his net appears in reverse in a small canvas, Clair de Lune (see F. Ingersoll-Smouse, Joseph Vernet, peintre de marine, 1926, p. 269, pl. CXXIII), which is signed and dated '1782'.