David Cox was a master in the depiction of atmosphere and the effects of nature, his late work exemplified the 'impressionistic' qualities of the medium of watercolour. The present watercolour is an excellent example of Cox at his most accomplished, capturing the mood of wind and waves. The present watercolour was probably painted in 1854, Cox had visited Rhyl in the August of that year and produced a number of sketches of Rhyl. He exhibited views of or near Rhyl at the Old Water-Colour Society in 1843 and then again in 1852, 1853 and 1858, one of which may well be the present watercolour. He also painted an oil, signed and dated 1854-5 (Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery), which was bought by Mr Croft from Cox for £100, the highest sum received by him for a single work and described in the Art Journal, 1859 reviewing the exhibition of Cox's work after his death as 'A marvellously fresh and life-like representation. The subject little else than a large open bay with a line of sands traversed by a few figures, and the small town in the distance; but the effect of light, the motion of the silvery clouds, and the clear grey waves form one of the most beautiful representations we have ever seen. It is painted in a remarkably free manner, and must be looked at from a distance.' (see F. Gordon Roe The Life and Art of David Cox, Leigh-on-Sea, 1946, p. 83). Another watercolour of Rhyl Sands is also in the Victoria and Albert Museum, London. This and presumably the present watercolour were probably painted in connexion with the oil painting. Although the present watercolour differs in composition to both the oil and the watercolour in the Victoria and Albert Museum, in all three versions there is a steamer in the distant horizon. The present watercolour may be one of those mentioned as being in the collection of Walter Turner (see F. Gordon Roe, op.cit., p. 48). Another watercolour of Rhyl is in the collection of Liverpool University Art Gallery (see F. Gordon Roe, op.cit., pl. 11).