Alfred Chapman's family lived in Liverpool. His brothers and sisters included Ellen, George and Dr Chapman, all of whom Whistler knew.
An engineer and industrialist, Chapman worked at the Phoenix foundry in Liverpool. He was one of Whistler's major patrons in the 1870s, and a generous supporter, willing to lend his works to exhibitions. Whistler may have met him through F. R. Leyland. Between 1874 and 1878 Chapman bought Nocturne: Blue and Silver - Bognor y100 (painted 1875/1876); Nocturne: Blue and Gold - Southampton Water y117, bought by 22 June 1874 (#11251); Blue and Gold: Channel y159, possibly bought in 1874 (see letters of 5 and 17 July 1876); Nocturne: Battersea Reach y160, bought on 22 June 1874 (GUW #11251); Cremorne y168, bought  November 1877 through C. A. Howell; and lastly, Nocturne: Grey and Gold - Chelsea Snow y174 painted by 1876 and bought by 1878, again possibly through Howell. Not all these pictures have been identified with extant pictures.
Young, Andrew McLaren, Margaret F. MacDonald, Robin Spencer, and Hamish Miles, The Paintings of James McNeill Whistler, New Haven and London, 1980 , (cat. nos. 89, 100, 117, 120, 159-60, 168, 174).