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Impression: Hunterian Art Gallery
Hunterian Art Gallery
Number: 222
Date: 1879/1880
Medium: etching and drypoint
Size: 202 x 294 mm
Signed: no
Inscribed: no
Set/Publication: 'First Venice Set', 1880
No. of States: 9
Known impressions: 59
Catalogues: K.184; M.181; W.150
Impressions taken from this plate  (59)


belltower, cathedral, church, gondola, lagoon, nocturne, sailing ship, ship.


All titles included the word 'Nocturne' but there were small variations, as follows:

'Nocturne' (1880, F.A.S.) 1
'Nocturne Riva' (1883, F.A.S.) 2
'Nocturne' (1886, Frederick Wedmore (1844-1921)). 3
'Riva Nocturne' (1887, Whistler). 4
'Nocturne, The Riva' (1893, Chicago). 5

The original title was 'Nocturne', and this was the title given in most exhibition and oeuvre catalogues from Wedmore's time on. The main alternative, 'Nocturne Riva' is a little misleading, in that it is a view from the Riva degli Schiavoni, but does not show the Riva itself.

1: List, Venice, a Series of Twelve Etchings, GUW #12667.

2: London FAS 1883 (cat. no. 8).

3: Wedmore 1886 A[more] (cat. no. 150).

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

5: Chicago 1893 (cat. no. 2239).


Dominating the view across a wide stretch of water, to right of centre, is the church of San Giorgio Maggiore on the island of San Giorgio. To left of it is a large three-masted steamer with a lantern at the bow. Several gondolas are scattered over the lagoon. At far left are the domes and cupola of Santa Maria della Salute.


Etching: c_K184_01
San Giorgio from the Piazetta, 2005.
Photograph M.F. MacDonald, Whistler Etchings Project, 2011.
This is the view from the Riva degli Schiavoni in Venice looking across the lagoon to the church of San Giorgio Maggiore on the island of San Giorgio. At far left are the dome and cupolas of Santa Maria della Salute. The view is as usual reversed in the print (in fact, Santa Maria della Salute is to right of San Giorgio when viewed from the Riva delgi Schiavoni).


Whistler's night scenes had become his most controversial and definitive works. His etchings of night in Venice include Nocturne: Palaces 200, Nocturne: Furnace 208, Nocturne Shipping 206 and Nocturne: Salute 203. This is the most dramatic, and technically complex, of the Nocturnes.