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Whistler’s viewpoint is from Battersea Bridge, looking up river. The industrial chimneys of Battersea on the left are balanced by the lights of Cremorne pleasure gardens on the other side of the Thames. Whistler frames his composition so the river spreads out as a panoramic expanse of water, leading to the vanishing point of the horizon. The paint was applied quickly, wet on wet, to produce the smooth sheen of its surface. Whistler has decorated the frame himself, using a motif of gold fish scales.

February 2010