Although he spent most of his career working on the coast of Normandy, Boudin also paid many visits to the thriving Atlantic port of Bordeaux in the south-west of France. Between 1852 and 1893 he exhibited there frequently and was patronised by local collectors. In the autumn of 1874 he stayed there for six weeks, painting a total of forty-seven works including this one. It shows the river Garonne near the Gironde estuary, situated just below the centre of Bordeaux. The buildings of the town are just visible beyond the varied masts and sails of the boats that crowd the estuary. Boudin’s free brushwork and observation of contemporary life mark him out as an important forerunner of Impressionism.