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This painting is dominated by Battersea Bridge, with Chelsea Old Church and the lights of the newly-built Albert Bridge just visible in the background. The Thames has long signified the condition and power of London. Whistler, however, does not portray the riverside crowded with factories, warehouses, wharves and mills, but the atmospheric effects of the water in the evening. He wrote ‘when the evening mist clothes the riverside with poetry...tall chimneys become campanili [bell towers] and the warehouses are palaces in the night and the whole city hangs in the heavens and fairy land is before us’.

February 2010