George Leslie Hunter first painted the house boats at Balloch on Loch Lomond in 1924 when he moved west from Largo Bay in Fife searching for a more inspirational light in Scotland that would remind him of California where he had lived and worked from 1892 - 1906. After a period working in St Paul in the Côte d'Azur where he had become ill, he returned to Balloch in 1929 and set about producing a large series of watercolour sketches and oils. His time at Balloch between 1929 and 1930 proved to be one of the most productive and successful periods of his life. The lessons he had learnt in St Paul are clearly evident in these paintings, in the more considered and less fussy compositions, the clarity of the light and the assured handling.
Dr T.J.Honeyman, friend of the artist recalled in his monograph that his move to Balloch at the time 'was a very wise decision to judge from the results, although he had a period of rather riotous living with certain bright young fellows and ended up setting the houseboat which he had rented, quite effectively on fire. The drawings, with their charred edges, which were rescued and from which he later made some fine canvases, have been preserved, and they stand in evidence of his new approach to an old subject'.
It is from the artist's second more fruitful period at Balloch that House Boats at Loch Lomond was produced, as were the other examples from this series that can be found in prestigious collections and musems including the Scottish Museum of Modern Art in Edinburgh, the Hunterian in Glasgow and the Aberdeen Art Gallery.
The series was to be the last of his great paintings. As a true bohemian, Hunter lived for his art and showed little concern for his own well-being. In spite of his financial success he suffered a breakdown in France in 1931 and returned to Glasgow where he was to die later that year.