The painting features a single figure within the centre of the composition. It is a long and narrow piece, which was fairly unusual within this artist's career. It was decided especially for a particular location as requested by the patron, which explains the custom format used here. Tempera was also relatively unusual for Blake, as he normally went for watercolour in combination with strokes of pen. Winter itself is very subtle, concentrating on variations in light and dark, rather than variations in colour. This approach may have been more in line with the existing interior of the patron's home. It was Revd John Johnson who organised this commission, which included a sister piece. The two were intended to be hung around his fireplace in a Norfolk rectory. There was still considerable wealth held by members of the Church at that time, but it would be hard to imagine a similar scenario today in the UK.

Winter was accompanied by Evening to complete the commission and they celebrate an extract from a poem by the patron's cousin, William Cowper. Of course, this was entirely typical for artist Blake who regularly drew on literature for inspiration for his art, whilst also being an accomplished poet himself. The narrow dimensions of these two tempera paintings helps them to serve as panels which could fit perfectly into the pre-arranged layout, either side of a fireplace. Blake chose to use pine as the wood for his canvas and applied tempera over the top, which is a traditional technique based on the use of egg. Whilst being subtlety finished, the impact of light may have reduced some of the impact of these paintings over the past two centuries.

Whilst not working with tempera too often, there are actually several other tempera paintings by William Blake to be found within the Tate collection in the UK. Alongside Winter you can also find The Spiritual Form of Nelson Guiding Leviathan and The Spiritual Form of Pitt Guiding Behemoth, for example. The artist would even use gold in combination with tempera which was a process used even before the Italian Renaissance was was very rare by the time of William Blake in 18th and 19th century Britain. There have, at times, been resistance movements within this country that attempted to restore past techniques that were starting to be replaced. The Pre-Raphaelites were a good example of this, where as in Blake's case he would combine innovation with tradition in an entirely unique manner.