This view of a blacksmith's shop just inside the wall of old Tangiers was painted during Weeks' sojourns in Morocco in the 1870s, during which he frequented not only Tangiers but Tetuan and Rabat. His journeys were extensively described in an article titled 'Two Centres of Moorish Art', which appeared in Scribner’s Magazine in 1901. An enthusiastic traveller, Weeks subsequently ventured further east, to India, which became the subject of his later work.
Weeks was born in Boston, Massachusetts in 1849. His parents were affluent spice and tea merchants from Newton, a suburb of Boston, and as such they were able to finance their son's youthful interest in painting and travelling. In 1872 Weeks moved to Paris, becoming a pupil of Léon Bonnat. Inspired by Bonnat and Jean-Léon Gérôme, he crossed the Straits of Gibraltar to Tangiers, the paintings it inspired establishing his reputation as one of the most celebrated of the American Orientalists alongside Frederick Arthur Bridgman.