Home > The Catalogue > Browse > Subjects > Etchings > Etching

The Little Lagoon

Impression: Hunterian Art Gallery
Hunterian Art Gallery
Number: 216
Date: 1879/1880
Medium: etching and drypoint
Size: 226 x 152 mm
Signed: butterfly at lower right
Inscribed: no
Set/Publication: 'First Venice Set', 1880
No. of States: 4
Known impressions: 58
Catalogues: K.186; M.183; W.152
Impressions taken from this plate  (58)


gondola, lagoon, port, sailing boat, sea, vista.


There are no real variations in the title, except for adding or omitting 'The', as in the following examples:

'The Little Lagoon ' (1880, Fine Art Society). 1
'The Little Lagoon' (1886, Frederick Wedmore (1844-1921)). 2
'Little Lagoon' (1887/1888, Whistler). 3

Clearly 'The Little Lagoon' is the generally accepted title.

1: [1 December 1880], GUW #12667.

2: Wedmore 1886 A[more] (cat. no. 152).

3: List, [1887/1888], GUW #13233.


In the left foreground are two posts set in the lagoon, and further away are others, the briccole that mark routes across the Venetian lagoon. Farther away, at the right, a gondolier is rowing a gondola, and other gondolas are scattered across the water. Beyond this, in the centre, a small two-masted sailing boat is moored. In the distance, at the left, is a low headland with buildings on it, and with a ship and a second two-masted boat by the shore.


In Venice, Whistler moved into the Casa Jankowitz on the Riva San Biagio, which is now the Pensione Bucintoro at No. 2135 Castello. There he joined several American art students, followers of Frank Duveneck (1848-1919), including Otto Henry Bacher (1856-1909) and Robert Frederick Blum (1857-1903). His room looked to south and west across the lagoon to the island of San Clemente. 4

4: Grieve 2000[more], pp. 123-124.