Paul Sandby was Chief Drawing Master at the Royal Military Academy, Woolwich, from 1768 until his retirement in 1796. He painted a number of views of Woolwich during this time, such as a large and similarly expansive view across the Thames in the Royal Collection, dated 1796. The church is possibly St. Mary Magdalene, built 1732-38. Sandby is renowned for his watercolours and drawings, and this is a rare example of a work in oil, produced near the end of his life. On 13 January 1806, Joseph Farington recorded in his Diary that Sandby had 'since August last been employed in painting in oil, and had finished a dozen pictures'. This picture is also an example of Sandby's fascination with trees that developed in his later work.