Farington visited the Low Countries during August and September 1793 and produced a number of finely detailed, monochromatic drawings. Among these are the two views of Bruges exhibited at Bolton Art Gallery, Joseph Farington - watercolours and drawings, 1977, and both dated 11 September 1793. These probably came from the sketchbook sold in the Tyrwhitt Sale, 1921, lot 224, which was inscribed by Farington in 1806. He records that the 'drawings were made for Messrs. Boydells, who ... proposed to have engravings executed from them.' It appears that the planned engravings were never made, but the present drawings were almost certainly done with this purpose in mind.
Farington worked with Richard Wilson for several years before entering the Royal Academy Schools in 1769. He was elected Royal Academician in 1785. He made several tours in the North of England and in the Lake District, and many of his works were published by Boydell. His technique, as evinced in the present drawings, characteristically involved the use of extensive, detailed penwork and carefully applied wash.