Born in Newcastle, Carmichael is known primarily as a marine painter and served both at sea and as an apprentice to a boat builder before becoming a pupil of his fellow Newcastle artist, T.M. Richardson, Sen. (1784-1848). He first exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1835, the year before the present watercolour was painted. Although it has not been possible to trace it, from the scale and quality of execution, the present watercolour is likely to be an exhibited work.
Carmichael moved to London circa 1845 and visited Holland, Italy and was sent to the Baltic as a war correspondant for the London Illustrated News during the Crimean War. In about 1862 he left London in poor health and settled in Scarborough.
It seems likely that E. Neville Rolfe of Heacham Hall who once owned this picture is Eustace Neville Rolfe (1845-1908), a descendent of John Rolfe and Pocahontas.
Pocahontas became acquainted with the English colonists who had settled in Virginia around 1607 and when her uncle captured one of the colonists, John Smith, Pocahontas reportedly saved his life. Despite bringing food to the settlers along with the other women of her tribe, Pocahontas was herself taken hostage by the English. During her time in captivity she converted to Christianity and eventually married, John Rolfe of Heacham Hall. Pocahontas returned to England in 1616 with her husband and their son, Thomas, becoming a sensation in English Society; however she died in 1617, a year after her arrival in England, when she was only twenty-two.