In 1930 George Biddle (1885-1973) went to Charleston, South Carolina at the request of DuBose Heyward, author of the novel Porgy, and George Gershwin, who was interested in expanding Heyward's novel into the opera Porgy and Bess. Guided by DuBose Heyward, Biddle spent the months of May and June sketching around Charleston and Folly Beach. In drawings such as Fish Cat Alley and Charleston Street Scene, one sees how the characters of the novel Porgy influenced whom Biddle sketched. During this trip Biddle produced a large folio of drawings of local people involved in their everyday activities.
When George Gershwin and DuBose Heyward signed a contract with the Theatre Guild in 1933 to develop Porgy and Bess into an opera, they selected George Biddle to illustrate the original libretto. Biddle used his drawings from the 1930 trip to Charleston as his source material. The libretto was published in 1935 alongside the opera's premiere in New York.
From the drawings Biddle also executed a group of large canvases from 1930 to 1933, including Fruit Market in the collection of the Greenville County Museum and The Battery, Evening in the collection of the Gibbes Museum. He also published a lithograph of Folly Beach in 1932.