This picture shows the Upper Pool of London which runs from Cherry Garden Pier to London Bridge. The Pool was the busiest shipping terminal for the London merchants and their warehouses spanned both sides of the Thames in this area. The artist's viewpoint was from Cherry Garden Steps at Rotherhithe and he has highlighted the most prominent landmarks along almost a mile-long stretch of the Thames. Particularly prominent are the many churches which were a characteristic feature of the City of London. Although the Great Fire of 1666 had destroyed 87 parish churches, Sir Christopher Wren was repsonsible for the rebuilding of 24 city churches (including St Paul's) and another 8 were built by other architects. Today there are 47 churches in the City of London although not every one is open. Looking from the left of the present picture it is possible to identify several of Wren's churches: the two west towers and the dome of St Paul's Cathedral (1675-1710), St. Magnus the Martyr (completed 1687), the Monument to the Great Fire (completed 1677), St Dunstan's-in-the-East (completed in the early 1700s) with its distinctive corona spire and St Margaret Pattens (circa 1686).
London Bridge shown to the left of the picture was designed by John Rennie, opened in 1831 and later sold, dismantled and shipped to Arizona, U.S.A., in 1970. Billingsgate Market (shown to the left of the Tower) was originally built in 1699, rebuilt in 1830 and later replaced by a larger structure seen here in 1877. The Custom's House (seen immediately to the left of the Tower) was partly the work of David Laing (1814-13) with the central part designed by Sir Robert Smirke in 1826-28. St. Katharine's Dock and London Dock are shown to the right of the Tower.
This image was painted at the transitional moment when sailing vessels were still in use but in decline and steam vessels were taking over. A passenger paddle steamer is depicted at a pier in the neighbourhood of Butler's Wharf. Just beyond it is a European trader. Several steam ships make their way up channel to moor.
Claude T. Stanfield Moore was born in Nottingham but spent a considerable time in London painting scenes of the river Thames and moved to London in 1882. He was the son of Thomas Cooper Moore (1827-1901) with whom he collaborated on this picture.