Little is known about Lorenzo Castro who was born in Antwerp and was apparently of Portugese-Jewish descent. About thirty of his works have been recorded and since so many of them are in England, it seems probable that he either settled there or was at least resident there for a lengthy period, circa 1672-86. Nearly half of his extant output consists of southern European harbour scenes and whilst many may well be simple capriccios, it is equally possible that he did have some first-hand knowledge of the Mediterranean and its way of life.
This view has been identified as Genoa on the basis of the Genoese flags flying from both the top and base of the watch-tower on the left of the painting. The scene has been previously identified as "James, Duke of York, arriving at Lisbon to negotiate the marriage of his brother , King Charles II, to Catherine of Braganza (in 1661)" but this is unlikely. James never went to Lisbon at that time because the marriage negotiations were conducted in London. The tower in the picture has previously been misindentified as Belem Tower outside Lisbon, at that time one of the most famous landmarks in Europe. However the tower in the picture is round while the Belem is of square construction, a fundamental error no artist of Portuguese extraction would ever have made. It is also significant that two of Castro's other southern harbour views (Dulwich Picture Gallery) also depict this same round tower on its square base in addition to other Mediterranean rather than Portuguese characteristic and the tower may be a capriccio.