The artist was the eldest son of Peter Bretland, the owner of a coach and carriage painting company. It was following his marriage to Nancy Ingham in 1828 that he began to paint and receive commissions. After his father's death, and with the encouragement of Lord Middleton who was to become one of his first important patrons, he left the family business and turned to painting full-time. Other important patrons were to include the Dukes of Buccleuch and Montrose, Lord Chesterfield and Baron Rothschild.
In 1854, the year of this picture, Bretland moved to Nottingham and from this date confined his activities to Nottingham and the surrounding counties.