At the end of 1870, Claude Monet moved to London to escape the Franco-Prussian war. He was thirty at the time and stayed in London for several months. There he discovered the work of William Turner (1775-1851), especially the paintings the artist had bequeathed to the British nation, which were on show in the National Gallery.
At the same period he probably visited the studio of James Whistler (1834-1903) and may well have seen the American artist's earliest Nocturnes. As a very young man, on one of his first visits to London, Whistler, too, had been intrigued by Turner's work. Monet may also have seen Whistler's etchings of the Thames produced between 1859 and 1861 and published as a set in spring 1871. Whatever the case may be, the French artist painted three views of the Thames wreathed in fog during his stay.