Blythe Fletcher was born in Goole, Yorkshire and came to New Zealand in 1909, settling in Christchurch. Working mainly in tempera and oil he exhibited with the Academy of Fine Arts in Wellington
Fletcher later returned to Europe where he painted Mediterranean boat, street and pastoral scenes, most notably in France and Italy. This Turneresque painting is a particularly outstanding example of Fletcher's work, capturing the luminous atmosphere of Venice, its beautiful architecture a backdrop for the working fishing boats. Their voluminous sails are treated with a concentration of paint and intense colour.
The diminished scale of the distant city on the horizon produces an effect of vast pictorial depth. Links are created between the ships in the painting's middle plane and the foreground sea by the painted gulls that dart backwards and forwards.