After many centuries of armed conflict, Britain's alliance with France [against Russia] during the Crimean War (1854-56) at last began a process of reconciliation between the two nations. Latent hostility amongst the general public on both sides of the Channel, however, was far more entrenched and it was to be another half-century before matters improved significantly. Eventually, after several years of prolonged negotiations to settle several outstanding territorial disputes across the world, the Anglo-French agreement signed in Paris on 8 April 1904 finally ushered in a new era of understanding between Britain and France. Although essentially an inter-governmental agreement, the so-called 'Entente Cordiale', as it soon became known, was also the result of the personal involvement of King Edward VII, especially during his triumphant state visit to Paris in May 1903. As a means of cementing the raw alliance and also to impress the wider world, the French President then decided to send his country's main battlefleet on a goodwill visit to Portsmouth, in the summer of 1905 where the fleet was inspected by the King onboard the Royal Yacht Victoria & Albert III.
Eduardo de Martino was a naval officer and marine painter working in South America (Argentina, Uruguay and Brazil, from the 1860s), and court painter to the Brazilian Emperor Dom Pedro II. He later settled in London and was appointed Marine Painter in Ordinary to Her Majesty Queen Victoria in 1895. His connections with the British Royal family brought him the patronage of other crowned princes and heads of state.