This tranquil everyday scene of shipping includes clipper ships, trading junks, steamers, and attendant small craft. They are shown in Foochow. As Ron Ranson has noted of a similiar composition: "There is an almost dreamlike quality to this painting as the early morning sun lights up her sails an she stands supreme among the other vessels." Ranson was referring to the celebrated clipper Thermopylae.
As the tea clippers sailed from Foochow with their precious cargoes for England, views and shipping scenes of the clippers were an obvious choice of subject for Dawson. Among his known paintings of clippers and merchant ships preparing to leave this Chinese harbour, are the Baltimore clipper Anne McKim and the Spindrift. The vessel in the painting illustrated here has not been specifically named but she corresponds closely to the last named ship.