W.A. van Deventer, like his brother the landscape painter J.F. van Deventer, received his first painting lessons from his uncle Hendrikus van de Sande Bakhuyzen. Afterwards, from 1843 till 1846, he attended the Haagse Tekenacademie, where the romantic marine painters Sam Verveer and Antonie Waldorp taught, amongst others. Possibly they played a role in the choice of the young painter to specialize in the river and seascape. Trained in the romantic tradition, Van Deventer soon developed into a realistic landscape painter with a clear palette and a free brush stroke.