Until well into the eighteenth century, Dysart was one of the main fishing and trading ports in Fife, exporting mainly coal and sea salt to northern Europe. During the 1850s the rail network expanded in Scotland, and Bough made frequent sketching excursions to the coastal towns and villages of Fife. Worked up from sketches made on the spot, this picture is a triumph of artistic licence. His discreet repositioning of the east and west piers of the harbour intensifies the foreground drama of the small fishing boats battling against an easterly gale to avoid shipwreck at the narrow entrance. Other prominent features such as the shipbuilding yard, the harbourmaster’s house and the whale oil processing shed have been accurately represented and are still immediately recognisable today.