Louis Burgade was born in Bordeaux in 1803, right in the middle of the Napoleonic Wars and the various blockades that were imposed on wartime France. Surviving the 12 years until peace came to Europe once more, he began to paint the busy port of Bordeaux and its local marine scenes. Deciding to travel further afield in 1824, Burgade appears to have visited Mauritius twice, once in the early 1830's and once in 1840. Stylistically this work dates to the latter trip, and he must have travelled aboard the Europe.
Research has led us to believe that Europe was a wooden barque of 197 tons. She was built and registered in Nantes, commanded by Captain Guyodo and was owned by Monsieur Dalens.
Seen in this view of Port Louis is Government House which is where the painting is centred. The viewer is up in the rigging of the ship, possibly on one of the top platforms, in order to get a better idea of the working Port itself, and the careening of ships to the right hand side near Fort St George. Above is Signal hill, pointed with its signal mast and on the left, overlooking the city, is Fort Adelaide, built by the British in 1835 and now known as La Citadelle. In the distance behind can be seen the unmistakable shape of Pieter Both mountain, at 820 metres, which is infused with the soft, pastel coloured, Mauritian evening light.