Cheyne Walk, Chelsea

Cheyne Walk, Chelsea



Henry and Walter Greaves were the sons of a Chelsea boat-builder. When Whistler moved to Chelsea in 1863 the brothers ferried him on his painting and sketching trips on the Thames and across to Battersea having previously performed the same service for Turner. Already amateur artists they became adoring disciples and unpaid studio assistants of the master. Whistler was to have a profound influence on the brothers and the friendship was to effect the rest of their lives leading them to produce murals, oils and portraits in imitation of Whistler. They never fully recovered from Whistler’s later rejection of them. The two brothers also worked together on a wonderful series of watercolours and drawings recording the streets and river life of a changing Chelsea, many of which are now in the collection of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea. Although this work is dated 1861 it was probably executed in the 1870s or 1880s. This is usual for the artists’ combined work of this period as they recalled views of Chelsea and it’s streets and buildings before the construction of the Embankment in the early 1870s. The present work shows Cheyne Walk at the corner of Cheyne Row. The building on the left used to be the King’s Head and Eight Bells public house and is now The Cheyne Walk Brasserie. The houses on the other side of the junction are nos. 46, 47, 48 & 49 Cheyne Walk. Those beyond have since been demolished. The Chelsea bank of the Thames is shown before the building of Albert Bridge and Cadogan Pier is visible stretching into the river. The figure crossing the road suggests Thomas Carlyle, a familiar Chelsea resident who lived in nearby Cheyne Walk.


Height 121.92 cm / 48 "
Width 156.21 cm / 61 "
Framed height 181.61 cm / 71 "
Framed width 210.82 cm / 83 "