As a son of a Dordt yarn manufacturer, J.C. Schotel destined to succeed his father as the director of the factory. Fate, however, decided differently and Schotel eventually opted for free painting. He received lessons from the marine painter Martinus Schouman, under whose leadership he specialized in painting marines. In 1824 Schotel in Dordrecht moved into a house on the Boomstraat, near the Groothoofd, where he set up a studio for himself with an unobstructed view of the Merwede. The 'churning and babbling waters' that were created there were compared by critics with the work of 17th century artists such as Ludolf Bakhuysen and Willem van de Velde the Younger. In particular, Schotel excelled in the display of skies and water. He is rightly regarded as one of the most important marine painters of Dutch romanticism.