Birley after studying in Dresden, Florence and Paris where he enrolled at the Académie Julien, returned to London where he was much influenced by William Orpen and James Pryde. He was also a great admirer of Sargent. His first Irish landscapes were dated 1912 and he exhibited five portraits at the Royal Hibernian Academy between 1911 and 1913. Other Irish landscapes of Dublin Bay and the Sugarloaf Mountain, Co. Wicklow, date from the early 1920s, probably from the same time as his marriage to the Irish beauty Rhodea Lecky Pike in 1921.
The present work probably dates from 1912-13, at the same time as Orpen was painting and teaching in Ireland. Birley enlisted in the Royal Fusiliers in 1914 for the Great War.