An inscription on an old label attached to the reverse reads:
'A disciple of old Isaac Walton/at his favourite haunt./Painted by Jas. Stark.March 1839/The fish by Ed Bell./Exhibited at the Royal Academy, 1839./This picture was presented by Jas Stark Esq., to Ed. Bell ... Friendship drew this beautious scene/... made invaluable by the genius and talent/Displayed in the gift, wherein nature is portrayed/with all that truth and characteristic sweetness/so congenial to the mind of a great artist and also with a pleasing remembrance of Old Lang Syne'.
This picture was painted in the year that James Stark moved with his family to Windsor where they lived for the following ten years. Stark was obviously inspired by the landscape near Henley and had exhibited a large canvas (45 x 56in.) entitled Magpie Island, near Henley at the British Institution in 1838.