In the late 1870s Grimshaw built himself a house near Scarborough and the local fishing port of Whitby, with its distinctive skyline, hence became a favourite subject for the artist between 1867 and 1888. Grimshaw painted many views of the small Yorkshire fishing town, and the present work compares to Whitby Harbour by Moonlight (no. 42 in A. Robertson, Atkinson Grimshaw, London, 1979), which Alex Robertson identifies as the first of Grimshaw's night subjects. The atmospheric mood of these moonlit views have often been compared to the resonant depictions of Whitby in Bram Stoker’s Dracula. It was next to the Abbey, at the Church of St Mary, that Lucy had her first encounter with the Count.