Seen from the water, which dominates the foreground, a barge with a standing man and woman occupy the middle distance. Beyond to the left a three-masted ship is in dry-dock, separated from other buildings and activities on the right by a small inlet of water. Behind the barge to the right is a complex of clapboard buildings; at the far right is another sailing ship pulled out of water. A group of men with flaming torches are tarring the exterior of the hull. This is a view of a busy dockyard along the river Thames under a blustery, cloudy sky.
The London lithographic printer Thomas Way introduced Whistler to lithography; this is Whistler's first lithograph, drawn on stone from a boat that Way provided the artist. Whistler was becoming acquainted with the potentials of this new medium and discovered that the image was printing too dark and needed to lighten the overall image by scraping away some of what he had drawn.
This winter landscape scene is painted in light pastel colors including, white, blue, pink and gray. The artist has used vigorous brushstrokes and the paint has been applied thickly on the canvas. The scenery is not painted in detail but done in an impressionistic manner.
In the foreground, a snow-covered hill slopes downward from the upper right side of the composition to the lower left. There is one tall tree that frames the scene on the far right and several others clustered on the left. In the middleground area, seen through the branches of these trees, there are factories and buildings of a town. Also, there are figures ice skating on a pond, at the far left of the composition. In the far distance, seen over the edge of the slope, is the skyline of a city, the shapes of skyscrapers silhouetted against a cloudy sky.
This landscape painting by Henry Reuterdahl portrays a winter scene of the city of Weehawken, New Jersey, which lies across the Hudson river from Manhattan. Reuterdahl has painted this view from a point on the cliffs that give the city its name. (In the Lenape indian language, "We-awk-en" means "rocks that look like rows of trees"). He shows the terrain of the snow-covered cliff in the foreground area and provides a view of Weehawken below, from the ice skating pond to the smokestacks of the factories along the river. In the far distance, can be seen the bluish skyline of New York city can be seen silhouetted against a cloudy winter sky.