An expansive riverscape moves across the middle of the image, from left to right. On the near bank are pilings and a retaining wall while on the opposite bank are factories and other buildings. In the foreground, two men stand on the embankment near the waterline; another man stands at the back of a boat or barge in the lower left corner.
The view Whistler has chosen is of Millbank in London and the asymetrical composition shows Whistler's debt to Japanese art. The inscription indicates that this image was used to advertise the first public showing of the "Thames Set" in 1861.