From 1616 onwards, Salomon van Ruysdael probably lived in Haarlem, which was famous for its "lantschap-maeckers" (landscape painters). Besides painting, he became prosperous mainly through trading in laundry blue for the Haarlem bleaching-fields.
This picture is a companion piece to his Seascape with Sailing Boat on the Right. Arranged like a mirror image, the pictures nevertheless differ: here a greenish-yellow shoreline with cattle; there, in the middle-ground, the huge wheel of an overtoom, a rolling bridge. Technical details such as the rigging of the smalshipe used in inland waters, with leeboards, mast and spritsail, are rendered with care, and met with great public approval.
The background, rather indistinct in the hazy light, and the cloud formations low over the horizon give the impression of expanse.