By the mid-seventeenth century, the Dutch whaling industry was well established in the arctic waters off Jan Mayen Island and Spitsbergen. As these waters became overhunted, the whalers voyaged further to the north, off the pack-ice, in their search for new stock. The Groenlandia is recorded on voyages in the years 1738 to 1752, while the Duroux Leonora is recorded only in 1751 and 1752. Both ships are mentioned in August 1752 as having left for the East. The same two whalers also appear in a painting by Abraham van Salm, offered at Sotheby's, New York, 11 January 1996, lot 125.
The members of the Van Salm family were fine exponents of the penschilderen picture, drawings in ink using a reed pen on a gesso prepared panel or canvas, which enabled the artist to achieve a high level of detail. Earlier practitioners of this technique were Heerman Witmont and Willem van de Velde.