Ruskin executed this watercolour on a visit to Dunbar. He stayed in the town for a few days before visiting William Macdonald, a young family friend, in Pertshire. Ruskin wrote of making this study in his diary noting that he had 'had a happy day, drawing by the seashore' (Diary, 21 August, 1847). The artist worked from close observation. His immediate interest was to record, rather than compose a picture. This can be seen in the detailed way he has drawn the rocks, the seaweed and the movement of the water.