L. Clément de Ris. "Le Port de Brest, par Blarenberghe." L'Artiste, 6th ser., 2 (1856), p. 55, states that his family owned the painting by Blarenberghe from the Lebrun sale, and that it belonged to Baur, an antique dealer, but misstates the size.
A[uguste]. Jal. Dictionnaire critique de biographie et d'histoire: errata et supplément pour tous les dictionnaires historiques d'après des documents authentiques inédits. 2nd ed. Paris, 1872, pp. 225–26, publishes a 1774 letter sent by Van Blarenberghe to Monseigneur de Sartine; describes in detail this work, noting that in 1864 it belonged to Baur; ascribes it to Blarenberghe père, whom he misnames Henri Désiré.
Eric M. Zafran. The Rococo Age: French Masterpieces of the Eighteenth Century. Exh. cat., High Museum of Art. Atlanta, 1983, p. 140, no. 68, ill. p. 132 (color).
Monique Maillet. Letter to Katharine Baetjer. January 26, 1998, identifies it with a picture in the "dépot" of the navy in 1774, and believes it is also the work with Baur in 1864.
Monique Maillet-Chassagne. Une dynastie de peintres lillois, les Van Blarenberghe. Paris, 2001, pp. 194–95, colorpl. XXVI–XXVII, attributes it to Henri Joseph van Blarenberghe, and much closer to the study in the Louvre, which she ascribes to him as well, than to a gouache of the same scene (Musée des Beaux-Arts, Brest), which she gives to Louis Nicolas.
Monique Maillet-Chassagne and Irène de Château-Thierry. Catalogue raisonné des œuvres des Van Blarenberghe (1680–1826). Lille, 2004, pp. 57, 296, 343, 347, 350–51, no. 3-811-13bis, ill., note that no oils are attributable to Louis Nicolas; identify the six studies in the Louvre, made by Louis Nicolas with his son, as the basis for the finished views; believe another picture, rather than ours, was made for the navy "dépot".
Jean-François Méjanès in Les Van Blarenberghe, des reporters du XVIIIe siècle. Exh. cat., Musée du Louvre. Ghent, 2006, pp. 67, 69–71, 76, fig. 4 (color), attributes our picture to Henri Joseph; assumes that Louis Nicolas, like Vernet in 1753, was asked to produce two finished paintings of the harbor at Brest, but notes that one oil and three gouaches are recorded; wonders if the oil painting for "le dépot de la marine qui est dans le cabinet de Monseigneur à Versailles" could be ours.