In spring 1914 Gunn travelled widely in Spain, Tangier and Gibraltar on the advice (and at the expense) of the London dealer W.B. Paterson, returning home via Paris and Étretat. The beach at Étretat was to provide the inspiration for several paintings; a similar composition La Plage, Étretat, 1914 (private collection) shows the same stretch of sand with more onlookers at the water's edge and swimming in the sea. It was at this time that the artist began to use the signature 'H.J. Gunn', as in the present work, in place of Herbert or simply H. Gunn.