Having spent the early part of his life as a seaman and later as a painter of theatrical scenes, Clarkson Frederick Stanfield established a reputation as the master of British marine painting in the nineteenth century during the second half of his life. Stanfield's first hand knowledge of ships and sea conditions resulted in a pictorial style that united realistic detail with dramatic content.
Stanfield's combination of landscape and marine painting resulted in complex coastal views that became extremely popular. Ruskin noted that Stanfield's works conveyed an unparalleled knowledge of the sea and Stanfield's nautical truths were often contrasted against the mystical views of Turner's later oil paintings. He inspired a number of followers, of which Edward Cooke became the most renowned. In addition to his oil paintings, Stanfield also produced a large amount of sketches, watercolours and engravings, particularly during extensive British and European travels.