James Holland was born in Burslem in Staffordshire, the centre of the British ceramics industry, where his family was involved in the manufacture of pottery. Both James and his brother, Thomas, learned from their father and grandmother the skill of painting flowers on pottery and porcelain. James Holland was to spend seven years as a specialist flower painter before moving to London in 1819 where he gave lessons and produced watercolours of flowers whilst training himself as a landscape painter.
This watercolour is a fine example of the small watercolours which Holland made early in his career as a landscape painter. Like almost all British watercolourists visiting Paris at this period, Holland was very greatly influenced by the works of Bonington, Delacroix, Boys and Callow. The present work demonstrates Holland’s sure grasp of perspective. Martin Hardie noted that Holland’s early work is characterised by his perfect balance of selection, and his sense of proportion between the details and the larger salient forms. An unsigned autograph repetition of this composition, of identical size, was formerly in the collection of Edward Croft-Murray.