The present composition shows a view across the River Thames painted from an upper storey of the ornate Whitehall Court mansion block, close to the north end Hungerford bridge.
The industrial character of the central chimney, the Walker & Co. Lead Works and Shot Tower, is offset by ultra-modernity represented by the Royal Festival Hall, which is the most sharply delineated, nearly abstracted, building in the picture, composed almost entirely of crisp, black, horizontals and verticals. Giles Gilbert Scott's Bankside Power Station, now the Tate Modern, belching smoke from the horizon, is visible further in the distance.
Lowry exhibited this picture at his 1959 retrospective exhibition in the City of Manchester Art Gallery. The catalogue note describes this as 'one of the artist's rare London scenes' (exhibition catalogue, loc. cit), and it is true that, although Lowry was not an infrequent visitor to the city, it features in only a handful of his works. He also famously painted Piccadilly Circus and St Luke's Church, Old Street.
The Thames from Whitehall Court is, for the most part, a very accurate depiction of the scene, with Blackfriars, Waterloo and Hungerford Bridges all occupying their true locations, down to the placement of their piers. Lowry has, however, adapted the size and location of some buildings to suit his composition. St Paul's Cathedral has been much enlarged into a looming, shadowy presence. Also larger are the OXO tower, seen faintly amongst the chimneys in the centre of the picture, and Church of St John the Evangelist (today half hidden by the BFI Imax cinema), but in Lowry's picture a staccato note of greys, and red which pricks the right edge of the composition.