The present study relates closely to a series of seascapes which Lavery painted between 1907 and 1910 from the cliffs to the west of Tangier. They are distinguished by high horizons and foreground rocks which jut out from the shore and are exposed at low tide. Works in this group include Moonrise, circa 1908 (formerly Spink & Co., London) and Tangier Bay - Rain, 1910 (Ulster Museum, Belfast). The close relationship of the present study to a larger work entitled A Calm Day, makes it likely that it was painted during Lavery's sojourn in Morocco in the early months of 1908. Although we cannot be precise about dates, the painter would often set sail for his house in Tangier shortly after new year, returning to London for the exhibition season at the end of March. On this occasion he was preparing for a solo exhibition at the Goupil Gallery which was scheduled for June and July of that year. A Calm Day was included in the show (no. 53). It is also possible that the present example was one of the small works exhibited - such as the untraced Rocks (no. 16) or The Spanish Coast (no. 47).
The contemporary illustration of A Calm Day (The Studio, vol. XLV, 1908, p. 176) indicates a similar placing of the fishing boat, in relation to the foreground rocks and the hills in the background. Of the sixty six works on display, the majority were Moroccan scenes and seascapes and these, according to The Times, 'delightful' (18 June 1908, p. 19). The reviewer in The Studio, Selwyn Brinton, makes it clear that this view records the Straits of Gibraltar and the Spanish coast - the line of which is broken by smoke from a distant steamer. This provides him with the opportunity to compare Lavery's handling and use of colour to that of Sorolla. He omits to mention that from this particular vantage point on a calm day, the painter was able to observe a sequence of opalescent transitions, more in character with Whistler than with the work of the Spanish painter. Lavery was fascinated by those subtle gradations on the surface of the sea which sometimes defy the rules of atmospheric perspective.