Constable made several visits to Wivenhoe Park, near Colchester, Essex, between 1812 and 1816. Major-General Rebow, who owned the estate, commissioned him to paint two small landscapes of the environs. This small pencil sketch may have been a preparatory study for the first painting, but although Constable did show men fishing from a boat in the finished picture, he used neither the composition nor that detail from the sketch. Constable made this sketch a few months before his marriage to Maria Bicknell. The couple had been engaged since 1809, but due to the disapproval of their parents and Constable's precarious financial state, they were forced to wait seven years to marry. Writing to Maria after the visit to Wivenhoe Park when he made this sketch, he said of his hosts, 'They are both well acquainted with our history, and hope to see us there together.'