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This view is from Battersea Bridge looking across the Thames towards Chelsea. The tower of Chelsea Old Church is just visible on the right, and a fisherman stands in the foreground looking out to a low barge. This is the first of Whistler’s series of Nocturnes: paintings intended to convey a sense of the beauty and tranquillity of the River Thames in the evening or by night. The influence of Japanese woodblock prints is evident from the relatively small range of colours and the butterfly device at the lower centre, which Whistler used as his signature.

February 2010