This watercolour is study for the painting ‘Landing at Aboukir’, also in the National Galleries of Scotland Collections. Smith was seen as somewhat of an eccentric. Entering the Navy at thirteen he was courageous, intelligent and vigorous. He rose up the ranks to become Admiral, this despite being viewed by many of his contemporaries as a bit of a liability whose unique ideas were not always seen as sound. He is shown here in his captain’s undress uniform, wearing the Star of the Swedish Order of the Sword which was awarded to him in 1792. His prominent position in the painting recognises his significant role in this operation.