Alfred Sisley was an artist of English descent. He painted the Orchard just outside the village of By, near his home in Veneux-Nadon and the forest of Fontainebleau. Sisley was passionate about the beauty of his surroundings. In a letter to a friend, he said that every picture he made depicted a place he had fallen in love with. He produced numerous paintings of the landscape, many of them with views of the riverbanks along the Seine and the Loing. Unlike most Impressionists, Sisley rarely depicted figures, and when he did, they were subordinate to the landscape. The figures we see in this painting are not individual characters, but serve merely to add interest the tree-lined embankment.
Like his contemporaries, Sisley often painted the same place at different times of the day and in different seasons to study the changing patterns of colour and shape. By working outdoors, he was able to render exceptionally colourful and broadly executed paintings. Sisley was less successful at selling his work than artists like Claude Monet or Auguste Renoir, and struggled financially throughout his career.