The view in this picture is from the Liverpool dock shore looking towards Birkenhead and Tranmere. St Mary's Church in Birkenhead can be clearly seen as can the, still extant, windmill on Bidston Hill and another above Tranmere. Although the architecture is a rather generalised mixture of chimneys and houses some sense the terraces of Hamilton Square in Birkenhead is conveyed.
Dockside parting scenes were popular pictorial subjects during the 1850s. The most famous of these was a picture by Henry Nelson O'Neill, exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1857, entitled 'Eastwood Ho August 1857'. It showed soldiers leaving for India after the Indian Mutiny. An engraving after O'Neill's picture was published in 1860 and may have part-prompted Lee's choice of subject.