From 1846 until his death in 1891, Jongkind mainly lived in France. There his Dutch landscape paintings were very well-received. While in France he made good use of early drawings from his sketchbooks. Not only did they serve as a welcome memory, he thankfully used them to draw up his etchings.
Etching makes it possible to multiply his artworks fairly easily, enabling him to reach a larger audience. In 1862 Jongkind compiled a cahier with various Dutch landscapes. One such image, 'Les deux barques à voile' from 1862, shows the Vlaardingsevaart, made from your current position.
Jongkind later made a painting based on the etching. You can tell because when a print is made with the etching-technique, it comes out in reverse. In rare cases, a counterprint is made so that the image and the signature can be seen in their normal state again.
That Jongkind struggled with this in the beginning can be seen when several etchings are put side by side. You can see a very clumsy signature in an attempt to apply it to the engraving in mirror image. The original drawing found in one of his first sketchbooks does have the correct viewing direction.
Sketch, Jongkind around 1837-1843, Collection Louvre
Current situation behind the painting serving as a comparison
The building on the quay is the former courthouse of Zouteveen. In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, justice was administered here. Odly enhough it also served as a place where people could stop for a drink. The owner also kept some livestock. The house was well situated with regard to the waterways. Nearby was the ferry that connected the path along the Tow barge with the Vlaardingsekade. The barges of Maassluis to Delft and from Vlaardingen to Delft passed the court house several times a day.
In the 19th century, the inn function was discontinued and the building was mainly used for farming. This too came to an end in the 1960s. Nowadays it serves as a charming B&B.
Jongkind was very familiar with this location. In the nineteenth century, the village polder mill (Dorppoldermolen), among other things, could be seen from this viewpoint. By now, most of the old school wind/water mills have disappeared from the landscape, but the canal, the quay and the former law courts are still visible.
Source: Jacques Moerman, Historical Association Midden-Delfland