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Little Nocturne, Amsterdam

Impression: Hunterian Art Gallery
Hunterian Art Gallery
Number: 456
Date: 1889
Medium: etching and drypoint
Size: 135 x 99 mm
Signed: no
Inscribed: no
Set/Publication: no
No. of States: 1
Known impressions: 4
Catalogues: K.414; M.413
Impressions taken from this plate  (4)


bridge, building, canal, night, people, nocturne.


Variations on the title are as follows:

Possibly 'The Little Amsterdam' (1890, Whistler). 1
'Little Amsterdam' and 'Little Nocturne Amsterdam' (1890/1891, Whistler). 2
'Little Amsterdam' (1891, Whistler). 3
'Little Nocturne. Amsterdam' (1903/1935, possibly Rosalind Birnie Philip (1873-1958)). 4
'Little nocturne' (1890/1892, Beatrice Whistler (1857-1896)). 5
'Nocturne (Little)' (1893, Ernest George Brown (1853/1854-1915)). 6
'Little Nocturne, Amsterdam' (1902, Edward Guthrie Kennedy (1849-1932)). 7

'Little Nocturne, Amsterdam' is the preferred title, avoiding confusion with other 'Little' Dutch subjects such as Little Drawbridge, Amsterdam 448 as well as with the large etching, The Dance House: Nocturne 455.

1: Whistler to South Kensington Museum, 2 July 1890, GUW #13044.

2: List, [1890/1891], GUW #13236.

3: Whistler to S. Mallarmé, 21 February 1891, GUW #13007.

4: Envelope containing copper plate, University of Glasgow.

5: Crossed out in list, [1890/1892], GUW #12715.

6: Brown to Whistler, 18 April 1893, GUW #01259).

7: Kennedy 1902[more] (cat. no. 359).


A view up a canal, which takes up the lower two-thirds of the plate. The scene is veiled in mist and shadows. Above the canal, a group of men and women are standing towards the left and a man walking to right on a narrow bridge. Behind them at left is a row of houses, at least three stories high, receding to right, with the gable end of a roof just visible at upper right. Just at the end of the bridge, or just behind it, is what appears to be a very small house with lit windows and a sloping roof. The scene is reflected in the canal.


Probably Amsterdam, capital of the Netherlands. 8

8: Heijbroek 1997[more].


Other Nocturnes by Whistler include Nocturne 222, Nocturne: Palaces 200, Nocturne: Furnace 208, Nocturne Shipping 206, Nocturne: Salute 203 and one elaborately worked one from Whistler's Netherlands trip, The Dance House: Nocturne 455.