Edward G. Kennedy, The Etched Work of Whistler, (1910) no.184
The concept of the 'Nocturne' had first been suggested by Whistler's patron, Frederick Leyland, to describe Whistler's night scenes of the Thames. The word was equally appropriate to these Venice etchings, the most dramatic and exquisite of the artist's prints, each possessing unique tonal attributes, no one quite the same as another. As the Whistler scholar, Ruth Fine, noted, 'of all the Venice etchings, Nocturne is printed with the greatest kind of variation between impressions. Indeed, depending upon the quality
of the tonal wiping, the time of day appears to range from dusk to midnight to dawn.'
Nocturne was exhibited in Whistler's seminal show Arrangement in White and Yellow in 1883 at The Fine Art Society (No. 8). Between February 1881 and May 1889 Whistler delivered ninety-seven different impressions to the gallery plus the cancelled plate
in April 1889.