This painting may have been purchased by Frederick Billings at a National Academy of Design sale in New York in May 1879; Julia titles it “Maine Coast near Portland” in her inventory. Such views of the rugged granite coastline of New England were popular with artists and patrons alike. The inclusion of a solitary, introspective figure under a parasol on the shore is typical of the subject and style.
James Craig Nicoll was an etcher and marine painter born in Norwalk, Connecticut. He became a member of the National Academy in 1885.