The American artist James Abbott McNeill Whistler is generally credited with spurring the Etching Revival, an artistic movement that flourished in Britain and France during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The artists of the Etching Revival sought to renew etching as a form of original artistic expression rather than mere reproduction. Their graphic work not only looked back to the open, painterly style of Rembrandt and his generation but demonstrated a modern sensibility in the choice of subject matter.
Billingsgate fish market was the most westerly site along the Thames River etched by Whistler. In the background, London Bridge and the tower of St. Savior are visible, though the scene appears to be flipped left to right because the composition of the etching was not reversed in the plate.