Born in Birmingham, Langley settled in Newlyn in Cornwall early in 1882. Many of his works were inspired by the lives of the fishing community there. In this example two women wait in their cottage for the return of a fisherman missing at sea.
This work shows Langley's mastery of subtle colour harmonies and texture and his bold use of scratching-out, for example in the strands of the women's hair where it is caught by the light. Langley was unusual among Victorian artists in that he made his name purely through his watercolours - he didn't begin to exhibit oils regularly until 1892.