John Wilson Ewbank, born in Gateshead, Durham, made Edinburgh his adoptive home after studying there with Alexander Nasmyth (1758-1840). He was primarily a marine painter and his calm seascapes show the strong influence of the Dutch schools, in particular the younger Van de Velde. Ewbank's series of Edinburgh views were engraved by W.D. Lizars for Dr. James Browne's Picturesque Views of Edinburgh (1825).
The busy port of South Shields is located on the south side of the mouth of the river Tyne, Northumberland. The settlement was founded by the Romans in AD80 when Agricola built a fort on the Lawe Top. The Romans used it as a supply base for Hadrian's Wall and by the 5th century South Shields was a major Roman military stronghold and commercial centre. By 1500, South Shields had become an important seaport, trading primarily in timber, lead, coal and salt. The first shipbuilding yard was established by Robert Wallis in about 1720, he was soon followed by others, including Thomas Marshall who built the first iron ship, Consider, in 1847, and associated industries of rope and salt making, anchor and chain forging, and mast construction flourished. The North Shields and South Shields Ferry Company was founded in 1829.