In the years around 1890 Sisley painted several views of the mills strung out in a rather ramshackle fashion along the bridge at Moret. In the present work the bridge itself is situated just beyond the right edge of the picture field, while the rendered building at the centre of the right edge is one of the mills resting on a pier with the Loing flowing below. Another example from this series, Le pont de Moret et les Moulins - effet de neige (Private collection; Daulte 723), takes almost exactly the same view, although it adopts a slightly wider angle of vision; while a further picture, Le pont de Moret (Algiers, Musée National des Beaux-Arts; D. 725), places the viewer high above the bridge itself.
The attraction of the winter landscape was an obvious one for the first Impressionist generation. A crisp winter sun and a blanket of fresh snow offered rich opportunities to record the play of reflected light. Celebrated works such as Monet's La pie of 1869 (Paris, Musée d'Orsay) and Sisley's L'abreuvoir de Marly-le-Roi of 1875 (London, National Gallery; fig. 1) took ample advantage of such conditions. The transience of the winter landscape, however, meant that for most of the Impressionist generation it fell by the wayside as a subject in the later 1870s. Monet and Sisley, however, perhaps the two artists to remain most faithful in their later careers to the original Impressionist creed, continued to see rich artistic possibilities in the effects cast on landscape by snow and ice. Later projects, such as Monet's Débâcles of 1880 or his Norwegian pictures of 1895, as well as Sisley's Moulins de Moret series, bear testament to this.
In common with L'abreuvoir de Marly-le-Roi, the present work's boldly adumbrated architecture and brio-handling of the sky and foreground appears to indicate that it was substantially completed in one session. This apparent brevity of execution, while obviously necessitated by the artist's need to keep warm, can also be seen as adherence to the orginal Impressionist commitment to working en plein-air and capturing the moment.