'Chelsea Bridge and Church' was published in 1871 by Messrs Ellis and Green as part of 'Sixteen Etchings of Scenes on the Thames and Other Subjects', known more widely as the 'Thames Set'.
Most of the plates were completed between 1859 and 1861; however Whistler was still working on this plate in the months leading up to its publication in 1871. It is thought that either Whistler or the publisher was unhappy with it. Correspondence concerning this plate and its publication still survives, sent from Speke Hall, Liverpool, while Whistler was staying with his patron, Liverpool ship-owner Frederick Leyland (1831-92).
The church, on the left, is located on the corner of Church Street and Cheyne Walk, near to where Whistler lived. Whistler often visited his friend, the Pre-Raphaelite artist Dante Gabriel Rossetti (1828-1882) who also lived on Cheyne Walk.