Grimshaw lived in Leeds, and was self taught as an artist. He painted landscapes and towns, at first mostly in the north of England. Later he often worked in London, and had a studio in Chelsea in 1885-7. His early paintings are detailed Pre-Raphaelite landscapes, sunny and green. He then deliberately specialised in twilight or moonlight, with dark pictures of streets and docks, often with pavements shiny with rain. Although Grimshaw was not a friend of Whistler, he knew him and developed in a personal way Whistler's theme of towns at night.