Whistler was living in Chelsea, across the Thames from Battersea, when he painted this nocturne. He brushed thinned pigment across the canvas in bold, sweeping strokes, modulating the tone of the blue only slightly to create the subtle gradations that separate river, shore, and sky. Specks of orange and yellow mark the position of boats on the water, lights on the shore, and a clock tower in the distance.
Source: Eye of the Beholder, edited by Alan Chong et al. (Boston: ISGM and Beacon Press, 2003): 200